Nippert Stadium Renovation Details and Renderings Officially Released: They. Are. Stunning.

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I’ve been waiting for this day for years. When Bearcats football was the talk of the town in the late 2000’s the Mike Thomas administration released some preliminary pictures of what an expanded Nippert Stadium might look like. Well like most big ideas created under Thomas, the project never materialized.

But this time Cincinnati has a man at the helm who is the epitome of ‘big ideas’ and most importantly seeing those through to completion. Visually the designs are stunning; a curved press box complete with luxury suites that hug the contours of Nippert itself. It also fits in nicely with the surrounding buildings that don’t allow for a lot of room for additions to the venue. Overall Whit Babcock has delivered a masterpiece.

As far as details of the renovation are concerned, early projections indicate around 28 private suites and 41 loge boxes will be constructed. The hard numbers will be finalized as the athletic department gauges usage of the premium seating. Either way, this will pump millions of dollars into UC’s athletic budget which, at the end of the day, is what keeps football and basketball competing at a high level. As of now, it doesn’t look like UC plans to add general seating. Initially I believed they would try to bring capacity to a level north of 40,000 but really there isn’t a priority for that now especially considering Cincinnati struggles to sellout Nippert Stadium as it is. Meeting the needs of high-level donors and corporate partners is of much higher importance.

And why this makes sense versus closing shop and shipping the program to Paul Brown Stadium? Well in that same linked piece I noted five reasons why sticking with Nippert Stadium is an overwhelmingly better choice:

  1. It keeps 100% of football profits in the hands of UC rather than cutting a check to Mike Brown and the Bengals.
  2. It pleases high-spending alumni who prefer Nippert to Paul Brown Stadium and allows Cincinnati the opportunity create financial opportunities with multi-billion dollar companies in the area.
  3. It further walls off the space surrounding the football field creating even more of a homefield advantage for the Bearcats.
  4. It will further push Cincinnati into a new conference such as the ACC or the Big 12. Indications from President Ono was that the ACC essentially told the university what their shortcomings are and that they need to fix them.
  5. It’s both a short- and long-term solution for the program, as Cincinnati has not yet outgrown Nippert Stadium and could still use Paul Brown Stadium for big-name opponents.

At the end of the day this project will bring the last, and most important, piece attached to Cincinnati football into the 21st century. Nippert Stadium will still maintain its old school charm with the brick wall surrounding the field and the placement of the fans right on top of the teams but will provide most if not all of the fan amenities found in the most modern stadiums. In addition to the brand new press box, the renovation should address the concerns over a cramped concourse and a lack of concessions and restrooms. That should help please the masses and draw more average fans into the stadium.

Overall this project should be met with unadulterated praise. Excellent work, Whit!