The Cincinnati Bengals moved from a stadium name that commemorated the late father of team owner Mike Brown’s father, Paul.
When the Cincinnati Bengals changed the name of Paul Brown Stadium to Paycor stadium, team owner Mike Brown said that he felt his father would have approved of the plan. Mainly, that was because the move allowed the Bengals to put more money into the business and ostensibly, use that money to compete.
Here’s what owner Mike Brown said when the name change was first revealed:
"“This is a move that I think my father would have agreed to. He was always for what is best for the football team,” Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement, H/T ESPN. “This partnership allows the Bengals to continue to compete at the highest level in the NFL and exemplifies our long-term commitment to the community.”"
The name was changed just ahead of the 2022 season, after the Bengals had won an AFC Championship the season prior.
Brown added that as a small market team, it was a revenue stream the team needed to tap into, along with others, to keep up with other franchises in the NFL. Especially as the Bengals look to remain competitive.
Bengals stadium name rights are going toward a Joe Burrow extension
Previously, the decision to change the name from a commemorative one to a sponsored, revenue-driven one was nebulously for the greater good of the team. We now know that it was highly motivated by the team’s knowledge of a forthcoming extension for quarterback Joe Burrow.
In a column on the extension by Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic, Dehner reports that the cash from the 16-year naming rights deal is partly to contribute the funds needed to Burrow’s contract escrow.
All of the guaranteed money from player contracts needs to go into escrow per the funding rule. NFLPA President and Browns guard JC Tretter called the funding rule archaic and an artificial barrier to guaranteeing player contracts that was debunked when the Browns guaranteed Deshaun Watson’s massive $230 million deal.
It’s sometimes hard to believe team owners when they say they are making moves to squeeze more revenue — like increased ticket prices, for instance — to help the team compete. Is that true, or just storytelling to get fans to buy-in while owners line their pockets?
In this case, Brown instead put his family’s name on the line, literally, and the money will be well spent when the team uses it to pay Burrow.
Brown’s father, Paul, was the co-founder and first coach of the Bengals, and is a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee north of Cincinnati in Canton, Ohio.
Burrow is extension eligible for the first time, and the Bengals will absolutely find a way to keep him in Cincinnati. He very well could be the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL within the next few seasons.