SBD/July 25, 2013/Franchises

Browns CEO Joe Banner Reassures Fans On Future Of The Franchise, Owner Jimmy Haslam

Banner (r) reiterated that he could not envision Haslam (l) selling the team
Browns CEO Joe Banner yesterday in a pre-camp interview stressed that it has been "business as usual in Berea despite owner Jimmy Haslam's legal woes with Pilot Flying J, and that Haslam is still as involved with the team as he always intended," according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Haslam "will be at the team's first training camp practice" today. Banner said, "Jimmy is here and incredibly supportive and a huge asset to us. I think he’s made it clear and I’ve tried to make it clear without any ambiguity at all that he’s not going to sell the team." Cabot asked if Banner could "envision any outcome in which Haslam will put the team up for sale." He replied, "I don't see that scenario, but you know ... (trailed off).'' Banner said of how the reputation of the organization has been affected by Haslam's situation, "I think it’s not as pure as it was, but I don’t think it’s spoiled. ... There’s a lot of evidence that things are going just as we would have hoped they’d be going at this point." He added, "We’ve sold more season tickets than the Browns have sold since at least the return here. This off-season, more suites, more club seats, more new marketing partnerships. So there’s a lot of optimism and positive feeling about where the franchise is heading." Banner said the Browns are "at 94 percent renewal rate" for season tickets. He added of stadium enhancements, "Things like the bathrooms were repainted in Browns colors so they feel clean. ... Your cell phones will work. You will have complete cell service and you will have partial use of iPads and things like that" (CLEVELAND.com, 7/24). Banner said of the NFL's feelings toward Haslam, "I think they feel very good about Jimmy, he’s been very open and transparent with them. I think they feel confident in the way they see him leading and the team we’ve put together to operate things" (OHIO.com, 7/24).
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