Hamilton County will pay $7.5 million for a $10 million scoreboard renovation after county commissioners voted 3-0 to approve contracts with Daktronics Inc, Alpha Video and Audio Inc. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the upgrade will begin after the conclusion of the 2014 season and should be finished by the regular season opener next year.
The scoreboard has been a slight bane in everyone's side.
Originally the county was legally forced to foot the bill for a new scoreboard, but the Bengals reached an agreement to pay "about $4 million toward improvements that the team's lease otherwise would have required the county to cover, including part of the scoreboard renovation." However, this scoreboard was going to happen... whether or not the Bengals would pay a portion of it or not.
The lease clause 12.3, covering "Level I Enhancements", refers to a "stadium-related improvement" that was not prevalent when the lease was signed in 1997 but is "capable of being added" later. Examples cited in the lease include a "holographic replay system" and "next generation video screen."
"It’s required by the lease," said county Commissioner Greg Hartmann last year. "But the money not being there is a reality as well." The lease requires that if new technology – including a scoreboard – is installed within 14 other NFL stadiums – Hamilton County taxpayers must buy the same thing for Paul Brown Stadium if the Bengals request it.
On Sept. 20, 2013, the Bengals officially made that request in a letter penned by Troy Blackburn, one of the team's vice presidents.
In the letter, obtained by The Enquirer under Ohio public records laws, Blackburn explained the current scoreboard has 14-year-old technology, is among the oldest boards still in operation in any NFL stadium and is among the smallest.
"With age comes predictable issues – replacement parts for boards are difficult to find, the luminance has dimmed over the years and often replacement elements cannot match the original board so uneven pictures are presented," Blackburn said.
The boards, he wrote, "have failed during games, which has caused our fans to recognize the reality that the boards are past their useful life."