No decision has been made on whether a new stadium should be built.
It is stadium game season for National Football League owners and it appears the Cleveland Browns ownership is on the field doing warmups. The Browns business’s lease with the city of Cleveland is done in 2028 and Cleveland elected officials are beginning to put together a proposal that could produce a renovated or new stadium. The building opened in 1999. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, 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.” Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb has listened.
“As we approach negotiations with the Haslams and the Browns, it’s going to be important that we in the community find a way to not just think about the stadium, but the lakefront as an asset for the entire region,” said Bibb. “It’s my responsibility as mayor as we approach that negotiation to structure a deal that has the right return on investment for the residents of Cleveland. We have to explore every scenario we can to keep the Browns here, but leverage the stadium as a catalytic investment for a world class lakefront That’s my priority.” 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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