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NFL blocks idea for a Super Bowl watch party at Paul Brown Stadium

Bill Rinehart
Hamilton County owns the Bengals' home stadium.

When Cincinnati plays the L.A. Rams in the Super Bowl later this month, Bengal fans won't be able to watch in Paul Brown Stadium. County leaders were looking at the logistics, costs and benefits. County Administrator Jeff Aluotto talked with the city, the team, and the NFL about what would need to happen.

In a letter Wednesday, Paul Brown Stadium Managing Director Eric Brown says the NFL denied the request to show the game at PBS. He wrote that's "consistent with the NFL's Rules and Policies applicable to similar events."

"The legal and logistical barriers to holding a watch party for Super Bowl LVI are too significant," the letter continues.

Brown writes the team is "excited that there are multiple alternatives within our community for Bengals fans" to watch and cheer on the team.

Aluotto said Tuesday he hoped to have some answers later this week. He said it wasn't clear how much a fan watch party would cost.

"On a typical game day, costs that are paid on everything from security to cleaning, to police, to scoreboards, maintenance — everything together typically runs between $250,000 to $270,000. That's empirical from games this year."

Aluotto says those costs would probably be less with a smaller-than-sell-out crowd.

Hamilton County commissioners were split on whether Paul Brown Stadium should host a Super Bowl watch party. Alicia Reece said opening up the stadium on Feb. 13 could draw more fans to the area, and provide a boost to the local tourism industry.

"Everybody can't afford to go to California. They sent me a package: $10,000," Reece says. "I ain't got $10,000. And that didn't even get me in the game. I said 'Wait a minute. How can we do that here?' "

But Stephanie Summerow Dumas said she had reservations because of the ongoing pandemic.

"I'm not comfortable saying the county that said it was a state of emergency is now saying, 'Come on everybody. Come together, ' " she says.

The third member of the board, Denise Driehaus, says she liked the idea, but still had some questions.

Updated: February 2, 2022 at 4:30 PM EST
This story was first published on Feb. 1 and has been updated.
Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.