STADIUM DUDE’S NFL STADIUM RANK: #25
- Location: Cincinnati, OH
- Opened: 2000
- Capacity: 65,515
- Weather: OK (Ranked 11th best of 20 outdoor venues)
- Games attended: 4
- Last visited: 2022
Welcome to the Jungle. We’ve got fun and meh.
Paycor Stadium is fine place to watch a football game. Sightlines are good. Fans often enter the stadium well-prepared for football after several hours of impressive tailgating and/or trips to the nice stretch of bars and restaurants between the baseball and football stadia. The Riverfront location is also nice for some pre-game strolling on a nice crisp fall day, perhaps with a traveler in hand. And the cost of attending is relatively low compared to other teams. (On one trip, I “splurged” for near-perfect seats on the 45-yard-line 25 rows up for less than the cost of what I usually pay for a pair in the upper bowl).
Alas, once inside the stadium, much of that electricity seemed to dissipate. The place isn’t always sold out, and the fans (perhaps inured by decades of execrable play by the home team) don’t seem as vested (or they’re too drunk to care). It feels more like one of 81 home baseball games than one of 8 critical Sunday tilts. Plus there’s not a lot of team history or even team iconography around the stadium; unlike most places, it wasn’t totally obvious what team you’re cheering on just by looking at the stadium. Perhaps the recent success of Joe Burrow and Co. will change this, but I need to see it first.
The taxpayers of Hamilton County had to pay nearly $424 million of the $449 million cost of the stadium. Owner Mike Brown, whose Dad’s name was on the building until payroll software company Paycor signed a 16-year naming rights deal in 2022, seemed to get the sweetheart-iest of deals. The people of Cincinnati got a perfectly cromulent stadium.