SBD/January 15, 2013/Facilities

Akron-Based FirstEnergy Lands Naming-Rights Deal With Cleveland Browns Stadium

Cleveland Browns Stadium has never before had corporate naming rights
Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. has "purchased the naming rights" to Cleveland Browns Stadium, according to Betty Lin-Fisher of the AKRON BEACON JOURNAL. The new name is "expected to be unveiled" today at a 2:00pm ET news conference at the stadium. The deal would mark the "first time a corporate name would be on Browns Stadium." When the Browns "returned to Cleveland as an expansion team bought by businessman Al Lerner, he said he did not believe the stadium should be named." But last August, new Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam III said that he was "open to selling the naming rights." FirstEnergy and Browns officials yesterday "would not directly address speculation" about stadium naming rights. FirstEnergy, parent company of Ohio Edison, has a "sports sponsorship presence" in other areas of Northeast Ohio, including naming rights to the Univ. of Akron’s soccer stadium for $500,000. FirstEnergy’s name also is on a "minor-league baseball facility" with naming rights to the Double-A Eastern League Reading Fightin' Phils ballpark (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 1/15). In Cleveland, John Funk reported whatever FirstEnergy is "paying for the naming rights, by law the company cannot pass that cost on to its customers by increasing rates" (CLEVELAND.com, 1/14).
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