Bengals home field now Paycor Stadium after naming rights deal

CINCINNATI -- For the first time in franchise history, the Cincinnati Bengals’ stadium has a naming rights partner.

The facility formerly known as Paul Brown Stadium will now be called Paycor Stadium, as the Bengals finalized a 16-year deal with Cincinnati-based Paycor HCM, Inc., for the stadium naming rights. That extends beyond the team’s current lease, which expires in 2026.

Financials were not disclosed, but Bengals owner and president Mike Brown had said last month it was a necessary move to help the franchise “keep up” with the rest of the league. City council in April approved the team’s plans to construct an indoor practice bubble between the Brent Spence Bridge and the Clay Wade Baily Bridge on Mehring Way, and the Bengals are looking at some big contracts coming up, mainly with quarterback Joe Burrow, who is entering his third season on a four-year rookie contract.

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“My father’s name has been up there and I think deservedly so,” Brown said at a media luncheon before the start of training camp. “This is a move that I do think he would have agreed to. He was always for what’s best for the football team. It’s a time now where we need a revenue stream that will help us do such things as build the indoor facility. It’ll help us perhaps handle the cap a little bit easier. We’re a small-market team. We need the revenue streams that we can obtain. The fact that about 30 teams have naming rights and a revenue stream from that and they have more revenue than we do to begin with. We have to do some things just to keep up.”

Last year’s run to the Super Bowl helped the team financially, as Brown noted season tickets sold out, but the Bengals have to get creative to stay competitive and keep core pieces of the roster for years to come in a time when the quarterback and wide receiver markets are exploding.

Deshaun Watson signed a five-year contract worth $230 million after being traded from the Houston Texans to the Cleveland Browns, and the entire deal is guaranteed. The Arizona Cardinals, who the Bengals play Friday in their preseason opener, signed quarterback Kyler Murray to a five-year $230.5 million contract with $160 million of it guaranteed.

“It’ll be a challenge, probably, but I like what (Patrick) Mahomes said,” Brown said. “He wasn’t bothered by all the big quarterback contracts that came after him because he had enough to set him up for a lifetime anyway. I can’t tell you how this is going to unfold. I can tell you that we couldn’t be happier with Joe Burrow. He’s everything you would wish for, especially for a quarterback in Cincinnati. Our whole focus is going to be on keeping him here.”

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Fans on social media already are joking about the switch from Paul Brown Stadium to “Paycore/Burrow Stadium” to keep PBS as the nickname.

Paycor, a leading human capital management company, already is considered a cornerstone partner of the Bengals. The company, which has been headquartered in Cincinnati for more than 30 years, has served as the team’s official and exclusive human resources software provider since 2018.

The naming rights agreement, in which Paycor was represented by Excel Sports Management’s Brand Marketing division, leverages America’s most popular sport to promote Paycor’s HCM services to a broader audience as the company continues to grow.

“Through a strategic partnership with our hometown team, the Cincinnati Bengals, we are beyond thrilled to introduce Paycor Stadium to the world,” Paycor Chief Executive Officer Raul Villar Jr. said in a news release. “As Paycor continues to grow and reach customers throughout the U.S., our mission of empowering leaders to build winning teams perfectly aligns with the defending AFC Champions. As longtime fans, this is a big point of employee pride and we are honored to support our local team and build on the legacy of Paul Brown.”

Paycor Stadium branding will begin to be integrated throughout the stadium in the coming months, with the company and the Bengals hosting a ceremony before the season to unveil new branding and celebrate the partnership.

“It was important to find a naming rights partner that strongly aligns with the Bengals brand,” Bengals Executive Vice President Katie Blackburn said in the release. “Paycor is a local company on the rise that shares our commitment to building winning teams. We are proud to support Paycor’s growth and strengthen the Cincinnati business community with this partnership.”

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