Cincinnati Bengals to play at Paycor Stadium following naming rights deal

CINCINNATI -- The Bengals will have a new name for their home stadium.

The facility formerly known as Paul Brown Stadium will now be called Paycor Stadium, the team announced Tuesday. The Bengals sold the stadium naming rights to Cincinnati-based Paycor, a company that specializes in human resources software.

The agreement is for 16 years. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"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. "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 move comes as the Bengals are looking to capitalize on one of the best seasons in franchise history. In 2021, Cincinnati reached the Super Bowl for the first time in 31 years. The Bengals lost to the Los Angeles Rams 23-20.

Since then, the franchise has sold the naming rights to the team's practice facility, signed Altafiber (formerly Cincinnati Bell) as a major corporate sponsor and now added Paycor as well.

The details of the revenue split from the team's original stadium lease with Hamilton County remain intact. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals will receive the first $60.5 million and then 70% of the remaining revenue, with the county receiving the other 30%, per the terms of the lease.

The Bengals have been very aggressive in maximizing areas for new money in the months since the Super Bowl.

"We're a small-market team," Brown said on July 25 at the team's annual media luncheon. "We need the revenue streams that we can obtain. The fact (is) 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."

Similarly, Paycor has been aggressive about increasing its profile since the company went public and raised $426 million in its initial public offering, according to Bloomberg. In January, Paycor reached an agreement with the Pac-12 Conference that includes the company becoming an official partner for several Pac-12 championships, including the conference's football championship game.

Paycor CEO Raul Villar Jr. told ESPN that negotiations with the Bengals front office about stadium naming rights started in May. The two companies started a partnership in 2018 that also includes signage inside the stadium. Villar said the Bengals' Super Bowl run was good timing for the deal and the franchise's on-field success was attractive for the HR company.

"The NFL and NFL stadium naming rights are a scarce asset," Villar said. "There are only 30 stadiums (with naming rights) in the U.S. and Paycor is one of 30. That was a unique opportunity coupled with being a hometown team and a team on the rise that we felt like was a unique opportunity that we had to take advantage of."

The stadium rights deal also has potential long-term impacts for the Bengals on and off the field. Both Villar and Brown referenced the revenue impacting the team's payroll, especially with potential contract extensions for quarterback Joe Burrow, wide receiver Tee Higgins and linebacker Logan Wilson a possibility as soon as 2023.

The new business partnership also represents a vote of confidence in the Bengals' long-term future in Cincinnati. The agreement's 16-year length extends past the team's current lease with Hamilton County, which has provisions to extend as far as 2036.

Villar declined to get into the details of the contract when asked if it was contingent on remaining in Cincinnati. But the executive added that Paycor feels confident in the Bengals' growth following a historic season.

"They're going to renovate Paycor Stadium and we feel really good about their commitment to Cincinnati," Villar said.