Browns Ownership And Cleveland Elected Officials Have Started The Stadium Game


The team’s Cleveland lease is up after 2028.

It is early in the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns ownership battle with the city of Cleveland in the stadium game. The Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is not 100 percent sure about what he wants to do. Is it a new stadium or is it a renovated Browns stadium he wants? That answer needs to come soon as the lease between the city and the football team ends in 2028. The Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb has fired a salvo as the game gets underway. “Number one, we want to be creative with how we address this issue because I’m no longer going to risk general new fund dollars for maintenance of a privately owned football franchise. So we’ve got to be creative. We got to think differently about financing.” The general fund is just one revenue source that could be tapped to funnel money into a new or renovated stadium to help pay for the cost.

In January, Browns ownership, according to NEOtrans blog’s Ken Prendergast, was “leaning toward building a new stadium versus renovating the existing stadium” and that Haslam felt the structure is “aging poorly.” The building opened in 1999 but a 24-year-old stadium and arena is  considered obsolete and need to be replaced. The Cleveland stadium was built after Art Modell took his Browns in 1995 and moved the business to Baltimore in 1996. Modell had watched the city build a venue for the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers and a stadium for Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians. Once Modell left, the city of Cleveland sued the NFL. A deal was brokered with Cleveland getting an expansion franchise in 1999 and a new stadium which was funded by a “sin tax” as there was a sales tax hike on cigarettes and alcohol. The stadium underwent extensive renovations in 2014 and 2015 but the venue does not produce enough revenue.

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FILE – Cleveland Browns new quarterback Deshaun Watson . (AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)