Paul Brown Stadium is no more.
On Aug. 9, the Cincinnati Bengals announced that the downtown stadium now is called Paycor Stadium after a reported bidding battle among several corporations. The naming-rights deal reportedly will stand for 16 years.
Paycor, a human resources software company, is based in Cincinnati but has 42 offices around the United States, including in Cleveland, Columbus and Akron. According to Reuters, it was founded in 1990 and experienced a stock explosion in 2021 when the company debuted on the NASDAQ stock market. It is currently valued at well over $5 billion.
The move may be a stunner for fans, who have known the stadium only with Paul Brown's name since its erection in 2000. Brown was the founder and the first head coach for the Bengals, leading the team to the postseason three times. He later became general manager and helped push the Bengals to the Super Bowl twice. Brown passed away in 1991, with his son Mike taking over as franchise president.
The Bengals inducted Brown into its inaugural Ring of Honor class in 2021.
With Cincinnati's stadium name sold to Paycor, the NFL now has just two venues that do not bear corporate monikers – the Green Bay Packers' Lambeau Field, named for longtime coach Curly Lambeau, and the Chicago Bears' Soldier Field, named as a dedication to WWI soldiers.
We are excited to announce: The Jungle is now @Paycor_Stadium!— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) August 9, 2022
"This is a move that I think my father would have agreed to. He was always for what is best for the football team," Mike Brown said in an Aug. 9 statement from the Bengals. "This partnership allows the Bengals to continue to compete at the highest level in the NFL and exemplifies our long-term commitment to the community."
In that statement, Bengals officials said that the team would begin transitioning signage and other Paul Brown Stadium items to Paycor Stadium branding.
Reports about the Bengals potentially chasing a naming-rights deal began surfacing in July. Hamilton County taxpayers technically own the stadium, and county officials must approve the deal. Earlier this year, an external firm told Hamilton County commissioners that the stadium needs nearly $500 million worth of improvements.
The lease with the county expires in 2026.
According to Forbes, the Bengals were worth more than $2.2 billion in August of last year. The valuation for 2022 likely will increase, thanks to the Bengals' post-season and Super Bowl run in February and bankable stars like quarterback Joe Burrow. But keeping the momentum could be costly, as Burrow is eligible for contract negotiations after the upcoming season and his overall contract expires in 2024.
The Cincinnati Bengals went to Super Bowl LVI in February, falling 20-23 to the Los Angeles Rams in the Bengals' first shot at the Vince Lombardi trophy since 1989. The team earned a 10-7 regular-season record for 2021-2022, won the AFC North, and pulled out magical win after magical win in the post-season — including the AFC Championship. Shortly after the Super Bowl, the Bengals extended head coach Zac Taylor's contract through 2026.
The Bengals' 2022-2023 regular season kicks off against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 11 at Paul Brown Stadium and will end on Jan. 7 or 8 in a battle with the Baltimore Ravens in Cincinnati. The team will debut its new white tiger helmet during the Sept. 29 game against the Miami Dolphins.