My own personal pilgrimage to Mecca took me to Paul Brown Stadium for the Bengals vs Bills game. Although I have had the pleasure of seeing a few Bengals games in Detroit and Cleveland, this was my first visit to the home of my beloved Bengals. The weather was perfect for football – mild with not a cloud in the sky. As stadiums go, Paul Brown is right up there with the best of them. The tailgate partying was top notch with lots of activities for both young and old. Entertainment was provided by an excellent band out of Cincinnati called My Sister Sarah. They did a great job of pumping up the crowd just outside the stadium before the game. The lead singer ended up connecting with my wife and partner Sandra via Facebook. He had some questions about setting up their fan page and we were more than happy to help.
The stadium sits 65,000 (only 41,000 at the game I attended – come on Bengals fans! Support the team!) and the sight lines are excellent. We sat in corner section 150 about 18 rows back. At least the main level seemed packed – the upper level, not so much. Snacks featured the usual stadium fare – we enjoyed the chilli and cheese covered dogs from Gold Star Chilli – a Cincinnati institution. With the Bengals pulling off the come from behind victory, really nothing to complain about. Well – maybe one thing. Paul Brown ATMs don’t accept Canadian bank cards! Which seems a little bizarre with the whole global Interact system. In this cashless society, thank the Almighty for credit cards in a jam like this!
Overall, it was an excellent day for the whole family. Not only did I have a blast, my wife and daughter had a great day too. And that’s where I think the NFL in general does an excellent job with marketing and branding this particular professional sport and creating a positive customer experience. They understand that if they were only concerned with pleasing their largest fan segment (males), they would miss out on a big piece of the pie. They really “get” that a day at the stadium needs to be family friendly with lots of activities to keep everyone entertained. Can’t wait to our next visit to Paul Brown Stadium! For now, back to the cage.