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SBD/August 3, 2012/Franchises
Haslam To Pay Lerner $1B For Browns, With Final Payment Not Due For Four Years
Published August 3, 2012
ON THE AGENDA: Haslam added, “We're very excited to be in Cleveland because we know [how] important football is here and how serious they take football. This is a great football city. That's what excites us about this opportunity" (ESPN.com, 8/2). The PLAIN DEALER’s Cabot in a separate piece cited league sources as saying that former Eagles President Joe Banner “will join Jimmy Haslam in Cleveland once the sale is approved.” Banner resigned as Eagles President “on June 7th to pursue the challenge of part-ownership in an NFL team.” If Banner assumes the title of President, “it most likely spells the end of Mike Holmgren in Cleveland.” Holmgren is in the “third year of a five-year deal with the Browns that pays him $8 million a year.” He said Thursday that he would “like to stay on, and feels the Browns are on the verge of becoming a winning team” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/3). Holmgren said that he “spoke with Haslam by phone on Wednesday night.” Holmgren said that he has also “known Banner for a long time.” Asked if he felt he could work with Banner, Holmgren said, "You know what, I'm not going to go there right now." He said that he had “no assurances" from Lerner (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/3).
FAIR DEAL: ESPN.com’s Kristi Dosh cited experts as saying that the sale is “a fair deal for all involved, with room for Haslam to get a good return on his investment in the future.” The sale is “on par with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ purchase earlier this year for $760 million.” Forbes lists the Jaguars as the NFL’s “lowest-valued team at $725 million,” while the Browns “come in at $977 million, good enough for 20th in the league” (ESPN.com, 8/2). ESPN’s Andrew Brandt said NFL owners "across the league are smiling” over the $1B sale price. Brandt: “It’s a good time to sell a franchise. Record TV contracts hit in next year, there’s a labor agreement in place for the next nine years (and) player costs are at an all-time low.” ESPN’s Adam Schefter said if an NFL team with multiple Super Bowl championships, like the Cowboys, 49ers, Steelers or Patriots, would be sold, “you’d be talking Los Angeles Dodgers territory” in terms of the sale price. ESPN’s Trey Wingo: “Remember the fighting we had last summer between the players and the owners and the lockout, tough economic times for the NFL and all that. Yeah, not so much" ("NFL Live," ESPN, 8/2).