The Bengals and Hamilton County officials have confirmed that Paul Brown Stadium will be ready for football on August 19, the date of the first scheduled game versus the Chicago Bears.
The stadium project team now has the building on schedule to open on time, so that all 10 scheduled home games can be played at Paul Brown Stadium this season, erasing any fears of preseason games at Cinergy Field and resulting late payments to the Bengals.
Mike Brown, team president, stated, "We are excited to know we will open our season in Paul Brown Stadium. We have been working on this project for 10 years, and all our efforts have focused on having all of our games played there this season. It is a spectacular stadium that our fans and players will tremendously enjoy. I think citizens, including those who have opposed it, will find the stadium a source of great civic pride and accomplishment."
Bob Bedinghaus, Hamilton County Commission president and leader of the stadium project, hailed the announcement.
"More than 4 years since the stadium initiative was approved by voters in March, 1996, it is exciting that we will see the first piece of our 'Rebirth of the Riverfront' project open on time," Bedinghaus said. "I credit our project and construction management team, along with the hundreds of workers on site daily, for working so hard to meet the scheduled Grand Opening."
More than 900 workers daily are on the 22-acre job site daily, contributing to the construction of the massive facility.
Hamilton County and team officials have been publicly criticized by some for a provision in the stadium lease that would have resulted in the County paying the team $2 million per missed preseason game and $4 million for missed regular season game (up to $24 million). Those payments would have been necessary for the team to reimburse ticketholders, premium seat patrons and sponsors who had previously paid for games at Paul Brown Stadium.
However, this announcement makes the provision meaningless, as had always been intended.
Said Bedinghaus, "We have had great confidence in our project and construction teams that this stadium would be ready for football on schedule. These are experienced professionals and their reputation is on the line. The late payments provision was simply insurance to the club for covering their commitments to customers, one that we knew we would never face paying."