CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - With an extensive, 15-month renovation set to begin at Nippert Stadium this December, the University of Cincinnati football team will play its 2014 home games at Paul Brown Stadium, Director of Athletics Whit Babcock announced.
The Bearcats, Cincinnati Bengals and Hamilton County will enter into a partnership to allow UC to move its 2014 home slate, which will be announced at a later date, downtown.
"We're very thankful to the Bengals and the County for being great neighbors and working with us," Babcock said. "I was impressed with the game day atmosphere we were able to create at PBS in 2011 and the stadium is a first-class facility. While we will have some logistical issues to deal with in moving an entire season of games to Paul Brown, I know our staff has a great working relationship with the Bengals and I am confident the environment will be the next best thing to Nippert Stadium."
"We are pleased to share our home with UC football for the 2014 season", said Katie Blackburn, Bengals Executive Vice President. "We consider UC a partner in Cincinnati's football story and we look forward to their 2014 games at Paul Brown Stadium."
The stadium has played host to many college football games dating back to its opening in 2000, with UC playing in four of those contests. Although the Bearcats are 1-3 all-time at PBS, the three losses were all decided by four points or less.
After playing Ohio State to a 23-19 decision in 2002, UC did not play again at PBS until the 2010 campaign, pushing No. 8 Oklahoma to the limit and falling 31-29 in a thriller. UC picked up a 25-16 come-from-behind win over Louisville and fell to West Virginia in a 24-21 heartbreaker in 2011.
UC had its two highest home attendance totals at the 65,535 seat facility on the banks of the Ohio River. The Bearcats drew a sellout crowd of 66,319 against the Buckeyes and 58,253 were in the stands for the contest against the Sooners.
The Bearcats also moved games downtown to Riverfront Stadium in 1990 to accommodate a yearlong Nippert Stadium renovation.
"It's a great stadium," Football Head Coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We had the opportunity to practice inside PBS this past spring and I was very impressed with the amenities, playing surface and the reception we received from Mike Brown, Marvin Lewis and the Bengals staff. I look forward to that relationship continuing and growing as we move forward."
"It is exciting to see what is happening at UC and we are happy to partner with UC to accommodate their 2014 football schedule, said Chris Monzel, President of the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners. "Cincinnati is a great sports town and the Bearcats are an important part of what makes our region special."
UBU Sports' Speed Series S5-M synthetic turf system, which was recently installed at Nippert Stadium for the 2013 season is the same playing surface the Bengals use downtown.
"It will hurt. We have great gamedays. There's a bunch of alum that come here. There are a bunch of students that come here. It's a fun atmosphere, and we make a lot of money," said John Levy, who owns the popular student bar Uncle Woody's.
Levy is looking on the bright side, however. The loss of business for one year is actually a tradeoff for the 2015 season and beyond.
"There was talk about moving it down to Paul Brown forever, which would have hurt a lot more than one year. All in all, it's pretty much a win-win for us down the line," added Levy.
The Bearcats open the 2013 season on Saturday, Aug. 31 against Purdue at noon inside Nippert Stadium. Tickets for that game and the entire 2013 campaign are on sale now. Call 1-877-CATS-TIX or click the tickets link at GoBEARCATS.com to get your seats today.
Information regarding ticketing, suites, club seats, tailgating and parking will be made available once UC's schedule is finalized and released by the American Athletic Conference in the winter of 2014.