There's been a lot of talk lately about how to make the operations for the recently built stadiums on the riverfront profitable (or at the very least balanced) - with the funds annually threatening red, resulting in secret backroom deals, general anxiety, and who knows what else. Since the plow hit the soil, it seems, questions persist as to whether the county received a bad deal (+), and whether stadium construction in general creates the substantial societal and financial impact that the public is promised.
Nippert Stadium is shoved so tight within UC's campus that it's hard for it to breath, so expansion proposals are often unique concepts (rarely ever actually realized) - though, this restriction is a blessing in disguise: Walking around a huge stadium without encountering acres of parking asphalt is a godsend. Instead, it's surrounded by some of the most amazing architecture and a vibrant student population, which makes it feel like a lively city within a city, which is very cool.
Paul Brown Stadium - a huge leap from the Bengals original home in Nippert Stadium (1968-69) - is architecturally significant and provides great aerial shots, but when inside, the Brutalist-like concrete interior on cold game days kind of makes you feel like you're on the movie set of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich...or maybe a zoo holding pen. It would be nice if pre- or post-game attractions were built into the stadium somehow to extend its gameday (or potentially game-week) life, but I'm not familiar with them (if they exist). For the most part, tailgating is stuck to the underpasses and the rest to the bars, but I'll bet that those living in the Club-level have a much different take on this.
Anyway, it's ironic that of all the stadiums in town, Paul Brown Stadium was the most expensive to build, has produced the least-winning teams, is used the least period of time (just 10 days/year for the Bengals), and most importantly, is the most shut off from the surrounding environment even though it lives in arguably the most prominent neighborhood in the city: the Riverfront District. I'm no fair-weather fan and am glad we have a pro team, but... well, I'll leave it at that.
Image source: Cincinnati Enquirer (2/19/63).
A proposed domed stadium on the site of the then Riverfront Stadium.
Commissioned by the then-city manager during the city boom era & early talk
• Read more about the general impact of stadiums:
Do New Stadiums Have an Economic Impact? from Diehard Sport
Sport, Jobs, & Taxes: Are New Stadiums Worth the Cost? from Brookings Institution
The Stadium Gambit and Local Economic Development from Regulation Mag / CATO Institute
The Economic Impact of Sports Facilities from The Sports Digest
Corporate Welfare, Publicly Funded Stadiums (+ comprehensive link list) from AK Dart