Sunday, June 11, 2000

The ideal blue seats: their own

Fans buy up Bengals' Cinergy Field discards

By Mara H. Gottfried
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Chad Zbacnik of Middletown bought 27 seats.
(Tony Jones photo)
| ZOOM |
        Dave Strong is a die-hard Bengals fan. He's even converted a room in his basement into a model of Cinergy Field. The Franklin man was looking for the perfect row of Cinergy Field seats to complement his collection Saturday.

        “I have the stripes painted, the end zone replicated and all that's missing is the seats,” said Mr. Strong. “We'll be able to fix that problem today.”

        He was one of 129 bidders vying for Cinergy Field blue seats, which were auctioned outside the stadium for nearly four hours. More than 200 people attended.

        The 2,500 seats, which were all sold Saturday, were added to the stadium for Bengals football games, but they are no longer needed because the team will play in Paul Brown Stadium this fall. The county netted about $21,000 from the auction.

        Like Mr. Strong, nearly everyone there had a story about Cinergy Field.

        “I wanted my own little piece of the city's history,” said Chris Arnold of College Hill. He bought a row of five seats for about $150. The seats were sold in blocks of two, three, four, five and six.

        Jennifer Bodenbender of Florence bought a row of five seats for $140 for her husband, who couldn't go to the auction because he was working. She is also nostalgic about the stadium and its history.

        “My grandfather helped build the stadium, and I always used to go to games with my grandparents when they had season tickets in the early '70s,” Mrs. Bodenbender said.

        The bidding process wasn't as tedious for most people as figuring out how to get the bulky seats home.

        Craig Erickson of Anderson Township struggled to take the bolts out of the row of four seats he bought for $80. He was trying to fit them in the trunk of his Ford Taurus.

        But Chad Zbacnik, who bought five sets of seats on his uncle's behalf, was prepared with a pickup truck and twine to transport the seats, which cost more than $1,200. The Middletown man said the seats are for a home theater his uncle is building in his basement.


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