I love going to Nippert Stadium. Ever since I could remember, the scent of hot dogs and cotton candy floating through the crisp, fall air would excite me even more to watch the Bearcats play on Saturdays. While hot dogs, Pepsi, and candy are staples at any sporting event, the options for food at Nippert Stadium should be expanded.
When Fifth Third arena was renovated in 2018, the athletic department sought out local restaurants to vendor their games. Places like Taste of Belgium, Frisch’s, and Buffalo Wings and Rings gives consumers more options to choose from and adds more of a “Cincinnati flavor” to the arena. While football is on a completely different scale than basketball when it comes to attendance, the touch of adding local favorites to consumer’s dining choices gives the fan’s a more memorable experience. Instead of saying “I got a hot dog at the game”, fans can come away saying “Look, I got chicken and waffles!”
Nippert Stadium does offer choices. Fan’s can grab a drink from local breweries like Mad Tree, Rhinegeist, and Esoteric. Cincinnati favorites like Skyline, City Barbeque, and Donatos can also be found throughout the stadium, but there is no set location for any of those vendors. If fans want a Coney or slice of pizza, they have to find a vendor cart and wait at-least 15 minutes while two people are only working.
Obviously, the club level seating offers more food options, but even those stations don’t feature Cincinnati classics. A major change for Nippert Stadium, and it’s not even drastic, would be to increase the amount of Cincinnati featured vendors throughout the stadium. Take away a general food and drink vendor and substitute it with Skyline so more people can be served their favorite local chili. Maybe even adding Tom & Chee or CityBird as vendors to increase the food options and create some diversity amongst what fans are able to choose from.
Like I mentioned before, I love Nippert Stadium. Going there on Saturdays is like a three hour escape from reality, but I do think the food options are lacking, especially in comparison to Fifth Third Arena. Now more than ever, food vendors would love to get their items into the laps of 40,000 people, so there really isn’t any reason why the athletic department hasn’t done it yet.
Note: I just saw that the athletic department released new improvements to enhance the fan experience on game days, but I still believe that the amount of permanent, local food vendors should be increased.