Browns And Cleveland Officials Talking About Stadium Building

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The team’s lease is done in four years.

There does not seem to be too much going on in Cleveland as the National Football League Browns’ ownership quest for a new or renovated stadium continues. Cleveland’s Mayor Justin Bibb had little to say other than “excited about our conversations with the Browns and the Haslams about the future of this stadium and what it could mean for the lakefront. But for the city and the region as a whole.  Those conversations are ongoing but we’re committed to making sure we have a world class facility right here in Cleveland, Ohio.” The Haslam family’s lease to use the Cleveland stadium ends in 2028 and that is just four seasons away. So time will soon be of the essence in getting a new stadium up and going in 2029 if that is the direction the city and team ownership plan to take. The Haslams want to stay in Cleveland.

In January, 2023 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 25-year-old stadium or an arena is considered obsolete in this day and age and needs 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”, 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 quarterback Case Keenum (5)game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla., in this Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)