Paul Brown Stadium, one of three NFL venues without a naming rights partner, is set to relinquish this status with the Cincinnati Bengals reportedly close to signing a sponsor.
The Bengals are working to sell the naming rights and have informed city and county officials to be prepared to move quickly on approvals, should they be needed, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The Bengals are said to be hopeful a deal will be in place in time for the start of the 2022 NFL season. The team’s first home regular season game is set for September 11, with the Pittsburgh Steelers the opposition.
Hamilton County, which owns Paul Brown Stadium, said: “From time to time over the last 22 years, the Bengals and the County have discussed the naming rights provision in the original County-Bengals lease.
“Given the team’s recent success and incredible Super Bowl run, the team indicated that they would be exploring potential options regarding the naming rights of PBS. At this point, the County has not received a naming rights proposal pursuant to the terms of the lease.”
Since opening in 2000, the stadium has been named in honour of the Bengals’ founder, Paul Brown. Should a deal be agreed, only the Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau Field and Chicago Bears’ Soldier Field will remain as NFL stadia without naming rights agreement.
In April, Paul Brown Stadium was deemed suitable to remain the long-term home of the Bengals, with the proviso it will require a minimum of $493m (£409.4m/€481.9m) in upgrades, according to the findings of a study by design and architecture firm Gensler.
Hamilton County in Ohio hired Gensler in September 2020 to assess the state of Paul Brown Stadium, which opened in August 2000, ahead of the Bengals’ current lease deal expiring in 2026.
Gensler issued its first report into the stadium stating that unlike other NFL venues that are currently in the process of being replaced, Paul Brown Stadium is suitable for redevelopment.
Gensler was appointed to assess long-term capital repair, replacement and improvements and offer design options for the next 20 years. The firm looked into 15 different areas of the stadium and provided a suggested priority list and timeline for repairs. The $375,000 cost of the study was split equally between Hamilton County and the Bengals.