Nippert Stadium

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Nippert Stadium
NippertStadium.JPG
Location 2700 Bearcats Way
(174 West Corry Street)
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221
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 12,000 (1924-1935)
24,000 (1936-1953)
28,000 (1954-1991)
35,097 (1992-2014)
~40,000 (2015-present)
Record attendance 36,007 [1]
Surface UBU Sports' Speed Series S5-M (2013–present)
FieldTurf (2000–2012)
AstroTurf (1970–1999)
Grass (1924–1969)
Construction
Broke ground 1915
Opened September 27, 1924[3]
Renovated 1936, 1954, 1970, 1992, 2000, 2005, 2013-2015
Construction cost $10.5 million USD
($144 million in 2015 dollars[2])
Architect Frederick W. Garber
Tenants
Cincinnati Bearcats (NCAA) (1924–1989, 1991-2013, 2015-present)
Cincinnati Bengals (AFL) (1968–1969)

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.[4]

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.

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 since then, 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]

[5]

  • 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 to be increased to ~40,000 with 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 at its current figure of 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. On December 18, 2012, President Santa J. Ono and Athletic Director Whit Babcock unveiled long-anticipated plans to update and expand Nippert Stadium. Originally the price tag was estimated at $70 million.[6] More recent figures have the price estimated as between $80 million and $85 million. On June 25, 2013, the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees approved the Nippert Stadium Expansion. The West Pavilion will include a new press box and premium seating area, which will add suites, loge boxes, and club seating. The west side concourse level will improve fan amenities, including concession stands, restrooms, and in-stadium traffic flow. Improvements on the east side of the stadium will include concession stands, restrooms, and improved traffic flow, resulting from building skywalks to connect the Herschede-Shank Pavilion with O’Varsity Way brick plaza leading to Nippert Stadium and the Richard E. Lindner Center. At this time, UC officials estimate that, after construction is completed, Nippert Stadium will have a capacity of approximately 40,000. Construction of the Nippert Stadium expansion started in December 2013, with a completed target date of August 2015.[7] Due to the construction, all 2014 home games were moved to Paul Brown Stadium.[8]

Attendance[edit]

Record attendance[edit]

On August 31, 2013, the first home game of the 2013 season, the Bearcats hosted the Purdue Boilermakers. The crowd on hand broke the record for largest attendance in stadium history, at 36,007.

Largest attendance (since 2000)[edit]

Rank Date Attendance Result Result
1 August 31, 2013 36,007 Cincinnati 42 - Purdue 7 W
2 November 27, 2009 35,106 #5 Cincinnati 49 - Illinois 36 W
3 November 13, 2009 35,105 #5 Cincinnati 24 - #24 West Virginia 21 W
4 November 7, 2009 35,100 #5 Cincinnati 47 - Connecticut 45 W
5 October 24, 2009 35,099 #5 Cincinnati 41 - Louisville 10 W
6 November 22, 2008 35,098 #19 Cincinnati 28 - #20 Pittsburgh 21 W
7 October 6, 2012 35,097 Cincinnati 52 - Miami (OH) 14 W
8 November 17, 2007 35,097 #5 West Virginia 28 - #25 Cincinnati 23 L
9 October 13, 2007 35,097 Louisville 28 - #17 Cincinnati 24 L
10 September 2, 2001 35,097 Purdue 19 - Cincinnati 14 L

Praise[edit]

East Stands 2008
Exterior 2008

In 2012, USA Today called Nippert Stadium the best football stadium in the Big East Conference, UC's conference at the time (it is now a member of the American Athletic Conference).[9]

Nippert earned a reputation throughout the Big East as a tough place to play.[citation needed] The stadium is sometimes described as a "zoo" when packed full of 35,000-plus Bearcat fans.[citation needed] UC boasted a 14-game home winning streak at Nippert, dating from 2007-2010.

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.[10]

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ GoBearcats.com. "Cincinnati 49, Illinois 36 Postgame Notes". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ 1924 Cincinnati Bearcats
  4. ^ name=www.gobearcats.com>"Nippert Stadium facts, 2015 [1]
  5. ^ Bach, John (March 2015). "Coming home". UC Magazine. Retrieved May 17, 2015. 
  6. ^ http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20121218/SPT0101/312180033?gcheck=1
  7. ^ "Nippert Stadium Expansion FAQ". gobearcats.com. 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. ^ USA Today names Nippert Stadium best in Big East Cincinnati.com August 27, 2012
  10. ^ 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

1968 – 1969
Succeeded by
Riverfront Stadium