CINCINNATI - They made it up as they went along. That was the view of one long time Bengals official as they cobbled together their first ever training camp outside Wilmington, Ohio, or Georgetown, Ky. While the wide open expanses of their grass practice fields adjacent to Paul Brown Stadium were ready to go, fan accommodations weren't completed until the 11th hour. But by the time they opened the gates Thursday Aug. 2, there were enough temporary bleachers and designated standing room carved out to accommodate 1,600 fans.
Several workouts inside Paul Brown Stadium provided for unlimited attendance and that helped boost the numbers to an impressive level: Over the course of 16 public practices 29, 260 fans took advantage of the opportunity to see the team go through their drills, a scrimmage and their mock game. That was just a scratch shy of their best ever attendance figure, which was 29,448 compiled over 17 workouts in Georgetown, Ky.
There is every indication that this is how things will be from now on, as the new CBA puts a limit on the number of practices that can be held before the season. The team's thinking being that with a shortened window, there was little to be gained by moving their entire operation to a remote location for so few workouts.
The move to PBS also dovetailed nicely with the new atmosphere of détente between the Bengals and Reds. In fact they collaborated in four specified 'Ultimate Sports Fan Double Headers', when the Bengals adjusted their practice times, so fans could make a day or night of it, by attending either a Reds game first coupled with a Bengals practice, or vice versa.
Either way, it proved to be a win-win-win for all involved as fans were encouraged to and indeed did, take in the expanded sights on the newly refurbished Cincinnati riverfront.
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