Bengals and Hamilton County Agree on Music Venue



For two and a half decades after Riverfront Stadium was built, the Cincinnati riverfront was a desolate wasteland. Parking lots, abandoned warehouses, former trainyards, little life.  

Twenty years ago, after voter approval of the stadium sales tax, the County, Bengals and riverfront stakeholders reached an agreement that catalyzed the revitalization of Cincinnati's riverfront. Since then, with all of the Riverfront stakeholders working together, including the City, County, Bengals, the Reds, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, two new professional stadiums, the Reds Hall of Fame, the beautiful world class Smale Riverfront Park, G.E.'s U.S. Global Operations Center, new restaurants, the new AC Hotel and apartments have all been developed. Thousands of new jobs have been created and over 1,000 residents now call The Banks home.

Hamilton County residents have made enormous contributions to these projects, and to Cincinnati Public Schools, through the stadium sales tax, and they have leveraged even more. People from outside Hamilton County have paid about $2 in sales tax for every $1 that Hamilton County residents pay. 

Today, the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners and the Cincinnati Bengals are pleased to announce that they have agreed in principle upon a direction for our treasured riverfront that ensures the development of dynamic new attractions while enhancing existing traditions that are part of the very fabric of our community. The County-Bengals collaboration works towards two very important things: (1) construction of the music venue on The Banks, and (2) long-term viability of Paul Brown Stadium.

"Today's agreement represents progress on many fronts and allows for more collaboration between the Bengals and Hamilton County," said Hamilton County Commission President Todd Portune. "The Bengals and the County are making significant commitments to ensure the long-term viability of Paul Brown Stadium and the success of the entire Banks development."


The preferred developer, CSO/MEMI, unanimously approved by the City and County as recommended by the Joint Banks Steering Committee, will build its much-anticipated Riverview Entertainment Venue just east of Paul Brown Stadium along Elm Street on Lot 27 of The Banks. The iconic indoor-outdoor venue will be developed contemporaneously with a two-acre greenspace and event lawn to the east of the Riverview Entertainment Venue on Lot 23 of The Banks.

"The Bengals have long supported the community's vision for a riverfront music venue, and today we were able to work collaboratively to ensure that the music venue will happen," said Bengals Executive Vice President Katie Blackburn. 

CSO/MEMI anticipate that over 150 events will be held at Riverview drawing more than 300,000 patrons on an annual basis that will further activate the entire Banks development.

CSO/MEMI, the County and the Bengals will collaborate to ensure that the Riverview Entertainment Venue is an integral part of the Bengals game day experience with potential pregame concerts and other events further enhancing the fan experience.


The Bengals and the County worked in a collaborative manner in order to achieve the greater good for our community.  

In consideration for the County's commitments, the Bengals have also agreed that approximately $30 million of cost reimbursements to the Bengals, which the County was to make over the next 8 years, will be eliminated.

The agreement also ensures the long-term sustainability of Paul Brown Stadium. Pursuant to a third-party design review and capital audit of the nineteen-year-old stadium – funded equally by the Bengals and the County – the County and the Bengals will collaborate on the allocation of additional funds for necessary capital repairs and improvements as has been called for in the County's Capital Improvement Plan.

As a result of the County's commitment to work with the Bengals to implement necessary capital repairs which will sustain Paul Brown Stadium into the future, the Bengals agreed to defer additional enhancements that may be requested under the Lease until 2024 and to discuss those potential enhancements to Paul Brown Stadium in the context of existing capital improvements and lease renewals.

In order to ensure the long term sustainability of the riverfront redevelopment which brings more than six million visitors each year, the County, pursuant to a public private partnership with the Bengals, will acquire additional property west of Paul Brown Stadium along Mehring Way which will extend the riverfront redevelopment west, provide additional parking for the riverfront and area business employees as well as increase the number of tailgating spaces available for Bengals' fans on game days. 

"This community has a long history of coming together at important junctures to keep Cincinnati and the broader community moving in a positive direction. That's what the City, the County, and the Bengals did in the 1990s, and due to those efforts, our town now offers one of the most exciting riverfront redevelopment projects in America. Today's cooperation agreement represents another one of those times that the parties have come together, and the Bengals offer our sincere thanks to Hamilton County for their leadership in keeping this community on an upward trajectory," said Blackburn.