Nippert Stadium

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Nippert Stadium
Nippert Stadium, September 2015.JPG
Location 2700 Bearcats Way
(174 West Corry Street)
Coordinates 39°7′52″N 84°30′58″W / 39.13111°N 84.51611°W / 39.13111; -84.51611Coordinates: 39°7′52″N 84°30′58″W / 39.13111°N 84.51611°W / 39.13111; -84.51611
Owner University of Cincinnati
Operator University of Cincinnati
Capacity 40,000 (2015–present)
35,097 (1992–2014)
28,000 (1954–1991)
24,000 (1936–1953)
12,000 (1924–1935)
Record attendance 40,124
Surface UBU Sports' Speed Series S5-M (2013–present)
FieldTurf (2000–2012)
AstroTurf (1970–1999)
Grass (1924–1969)
Broke ground 1915
Opened September 27, 1924[2]
Renovated 1936, 1954, 1970, 1992, 2000, 2005, 2013–2015
Construction cost $10.5 million USD
($145 million in 2016 dollars[1])
Architect Frederick W. Garber
Cincinnati Bearcats (NCAA) (1924–1989, 1991–2013, 2015–present)
Cincinnati Bengals (AFL) (1968–1969)
FC Cincinnati (USL) (2016–present)

Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, is the University of Cincinnati's football stadium, home to their Bearcats football team in rudimentary form since 1901, and as a complete stadium since 1924, making it the fourth-oldest playing site and fifth-oldest stadium in college football, respectively.[3]

Nippert Stadium's namesake[edit]

During the final game of the 1923 season with intrastate rival Miami University, UC player James Gamble Nippert sustained a spike wound injury. He died a month later of blood poisoning, reportedly due to having been infected by droppings left after a pre-game chicken race. Nippert's grandfather, James N. Gamble of Procter & Gamble, donated the required funds to complete the stadium. A locker room and training (medical) facility was added as part of the renovation for the safety of players.

Early history[edit]

In 1895, the organizer of UC's first football team, Arch Carson, introduced a plan to build a stadium complete with wooden bleachers on the site upon which Nippert Stadium currently stands. The plans became a reality in 1901 while Carson was serving as UC's physical education director. The first game played on the site originally called Varsity Field in Burnet Woods was on November 2, 1901 vs the Ohio University Bobcats. Cincinnati was defeated 16–0 in that contest. They rebounded a week later and defeated Hannover on Varsity field November 9, 1901 by a score of 10–0. Although Cincinnati has played home contests in other Cincinnati parks, this site has been the primary home of Cincinnati Football since that time. The playing surface at Nippert Stadium is called Carson Field in honor of Arch Carson.

In 1915, construction was completed on the first sections of a brick and concrete structure to replace the wooden stands and continued for several seasons as funds were raised.

In 1924, the completed structure was dedicated as James Gamble Nippert Memorial Stadium with a capacity of 12,000.

Nippert Stadium timeline[edit]


  • 1895 – UC physical education director Arch Carson introduced a plan to build a stadium in Burnet Woods.
  • 1901 – Cincinnati played its first game on Carson Field. Wood bleachers were built on the surrounding hillside.
  • 1909 – Lights were first used because the large number of co-op students on the team could practice only at night.
  • 1915 – Construction began on a permanent brick-and-concrete structure.
  • 1923 – James Gamble donated $250,000 in memory of his grandson, Jimmy Nippert, to complete the stadium. Jimmy died on Christmas 1923 from a football injury a month prior.
  • 1924 – The completed James Gamble Nippert Stadium was dedicated on Nov. 8, 1924. Capacity was 12,000.
  • 1936 – Carson Field was lowered 12 feet to allow the capacity to expand to 24,000.
  • 1954 – Reed Shank Pavilion was completed along the east sideline to boost the capacity to 28,000.
  • 1968 – Nippert served as the first home of the Cincinnati Bengals while the city constructed a facility for the new pro franchise.
  • 1970 – AstroTurf replaced the natural grass surface.
  • 1989 – Nippert Stadium was closed for renovation. UC played its 1990 home games at Riverfront Stadium.
  • 1991 – Phase I of the stadium renovation was completed to allow for UC home games to be played. The structure was fortified and a three-tiered press box was added.
  • 1992 – Phase II of the renovation was completed, increasing the seating capacity to 35,000 through the expansion of the (renamed) Herschede-Shank Pavilion, and adding new lighting and a scoreboard.
  • 2000 – FieldTurf, a revolutionary new grass-like artificial surface, was installed. The former press box was renamed the John and Dorothy Hermanies Press Box.
  • 2001 – A new video scoreboard was added in the north end zone and 10,000 seats were upgraded.
  • 2005 – A permanent grandstand upgraded seating behind the north end zone and provided new locker rooms at field level for game use. A new, larger video board was installed and the FieldTurf playing surface replaced.
  • 2009 – 9,000 black cushioned seats were installed in the UCATS seating areas of the stadium, replacing the previously installed red plastic seating covers.
  • 2013 – FieldTurf playing surface replaced again and at the end of the 2013–2014 season, Nippert closed for renovation.
  • 2014 – UC plays home games at Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals.
  • 2015 – Capacity is increased to 40,000 with the addition of premium seating, new pavilion, additional restrooms, upgraded concessions and improved concourses.

Renovation history[edit]

The field was lowered in 1936, allowing capacity to reach 24,000.

In 1954, a small upper deck on the East sideline was completed, and named the Reed Shank Pavilion. This increased capacity to 28,000.

In 1992, the stadium was heavily renovated, expanding the upper deck on the East sideline and adding a new Press Box on the West sideline. This increased capacity to 35,097.

In 2005, the new locker rooms behind the north end zone (underneath the newly completed Campus Rec Center) were added, as well as a new video board above the north end zone.

2014–2015 renovation and expansion[edit]

As the UC program rose to prominence in the late 2000s, the small seating capacity of Nippert became an issue. Former UC head coach Brian Kelly called for an expansion of Nippert, the smallest stadium in the Big East (renamed the American Athletic Conference after the 2013 split by non-FBS schools). On December 18, 2012, President Santa J. Ono and then Athletic Director Whit Babcock unveiled the long-anticipated plans to update and expand Nippert Stadium. Originally the price tag was estimated at $70 million,[5] but eventually an increased budget of $86 million was announced. On June 25, 2013, the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees approved the Nippert Stadium Expansion. The West Pavilion now includes a new press box and premium seating area, which will add suites, loge boxes, and club seating. The western concourse also boasts improved general fan amenities, including concession stands, restrooms, and more efficient in-stadium traffic flow. Additions on the east side of the stadium were more sparse, but included additional concession stands, restrooms, and an expansion of the formerly-cramped concourse walkways, due to the addition of skywalks to connect the Herschede-Shank Pavilion with the O’Varsity Way brick plaza, which is located just outside the stadium. After renovations, Nippert's capacity is now around 40,000 (an exact figure hasn't yet been put forth by the university). The addition was designed by the New York-based firm, Architecture Research Office in close collaboration with Heery International. ARO served as the design architect, while Heery served as the sports consultant and executive architect.[6] Construction on the Nippert Stadium expansion started in December 2013, and was completed on time, in September 2015.[7] During the 2014 season, the Bearcats played all of their home games at Paul Brown Stadium, the downtown home of the Cincinnati Bengals.[8]


Record attendance[edit]

On October 24, 2015, the Bearcats hosted the UConn Huskies on Homecoming weekend. The crowd on hand was 40,124 making this the second consecutive official sellout in the newly renovated Nippert Stadium.

Largest attendance (since 2000)[edit]

Rank Date Attendance Result Result
1 October 24, 2015 40,124 Cincinnati 37 – Connecticut 13 W
2 October 1, 2015 40,101 Cincinnati 34 – Miami (FL) 23 W
3 September 5, 2015 39,095 Cincinnati 52 – Alabama A&M 10 W
4 September 12, 2015 38,112 Cincinnati 26 – Temple 34 L
5 August 31, 2013 36,007 Cincinnati 42 – Purdue 7 W
6 November 27, 2009 35,106 #5 Cincinnati 49 – Illinois 36 W
7 November 13, 2009 35,105 #5 Cincinnati 24 – #24 West Virginia 21 W
8 November 7, 2009 35,100 #5 Cincinnati 47 – Connecticut 45 W
9 October 24, 2009 35,099 #5 Cincinnati 41 – Louisville 10 W
10 November 22, 2008 35,098 #19 Cincinnati 28 – #20 Pittsburgh 21 W


East Stands 2008
Exterior 2008

Nippert has earned a reputation as a tough place to play. One national columnist, visiting the sold-out Keg of Nails rivalry game in 2013, described Nippert Stadium as a "quaint bowl of angry noise sitting under the gaze of remarkable architecture" and went on to compare it to a "baby Death Valley" (referring to LSU's notoriously intimidating Tiger Stadium).[9] In 2012, USA Today called Nippert Stadium the best football venue in what was then the Big East Conference.[10]

Other tenants and events hosted[edit]

The stadium served as home for the American Football League expansion team, the Cincinnati Bengals, in 1968 and 1969, while their eventual permanent home at Riverfront Stadium was being constructed.

The stadium has served as a concert venue only once, on August 3, 1975 hosting The Ohio River Rock Festival (Aerosmith, Black Oak Arkansas, Blue Öyster Cult, Foghat, Mahogany Rush, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, REO Speedwagon, and Styx; admission was festival seating/general admission, attendance 32,000 est. according to local radio broadcasts).

On November 2, 2008, Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama held a rally at Nippert two days before the election to an estimated 27,000 attendees.[11]

Alternative stadiums[edit]

UC has used Paul Brown Stadium, home of the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals, as an alternate home field for several high profile home games. The downtown stadium has a larger seating capacity of 65,535. Games against Ohio State (2002), Oklahoma (2010), and West Virginia (2011) drew crowds of 66,000, 58,000, and 51,000, respectively, at Paul Brown Stadium. Whit Babcock didn't rule out the occasional home game to be played at Paul Brown Stadium, but made it known that the school is in favor of staying at Nippert Stadium.


  1. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  2. ^ 1924 Cincinnati Bearcats
  3. ^>"Nippert Stadium facts, 2015 [1]
  4. ^ Bach, John (March 2015). "Coming home". UC Magazine. Retrieved May 17, 2015. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Nippert Stadium Expansion FAQ". Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  8. ^ Groeschen, Tom (12 August 2013). "UC officially announces 2014 games at Paul Brown". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  9. ^ December 2013 "The Keg of Nails, where getting out is half the battle" Check |url= value (help). 
  10. ^ August 2012 "USA Today Names Nippert Stadium Best in Big East" Check |url= value (help). 
  11. ^ Rulon, Malia; Coolidge, Sharon (November 2, 2008). "Obama: Change 'two days' away". Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on August 27, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
First stadium
Home of the
Cincinnati Bengals

Succeeded by
Riverfront Stadium