SBD/May 14, 2013/Franchises

Browns Teaming With Legends To Revamp Online And In-Stadium Retail Shops

The Browns and Legends Hospitality are "partnering to revamp the franchise's online and stadium team shops," according to Kevin Kleps of CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS. Legends will "run the Browns' online team shop and revamp the franchise's main stadium shop, as well as the smaller retail locations found throughout the stadium." Legends President Dan Smith said, "We want to have the feel of an upscale department store when you walk into the store." He added that the team shop, along with "the other stadium retail locations, will undergo a large-scale renovation." Smith said that the "front counters at the smaller shops, of which there are about 12, will be removed to give each spot more of a 'walk-in' feel." Smith: "We want to bring in more women's fashion lines. We have found with other MLB and NFL accounts, most of the purchases are made by women. If we cater to them and make it more friendly, we're likely to see an increase in spending." Smith said that the amount of items available online "will increase significantly." They will "be trendy, too." Smith said, "That is the key in retail -- staying current. We think the e-retailing component gives us that ability. We also want to reach out to fans who are no longer living in the marketplace." Legends' website "lists 14 NFL teams as clients." But Smith said that the Browns and Cowboys "are the only NFL franchises that hired the company to run the retail operations." Browns President Alec Scheiner said that improvement to stadium cell-phone service "will be ready for the coming season." But he "wouldn't say when the team would provide free Wi-Fi service" (CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS, 5/13 issue).

LOOKING AHEAD: In Akron, Nate Ulrich notes Browns GM Michael Lombardi yesterday "spent nearly 54 minutes addressing the state of the Browns in his most extensive public comments since he was hired" on Jan. 18. Of "all the topics discussed, Lombardi spent the most time trying to sell the idea of the new regime aiming for sustained success without giving up on the present." Lombardi said, "We’re going to try to be as aggressive as we can in terms of how we approach every decision, but we’re also going to be thinking in terms of one and two years ahead because you can’t operate in the NFL today if you think just to the next game or the next practice." Ulrich notes with Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam III’s family business, Pilot Flying J, at the "center of a federal investigation into an alleged fraud scheme, it’s impossible to ignore the possibility of his legal woes preventing the Browns from sustaining anything, let alone success." Lombardi said, "Our job is to keep working on the football team and keep doing the things we do. And that’s what (Haslam) expects us to do, and that’s what we’re going to do" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 5/14).
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