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Browns Unveil Two-Year, $120M Plan For FirstEnergy Stadium Upgrades
Published November 14, 2013
THE GREAT OUTDOORS: Banner said that the team "has ruled out the possibilities of putting a roof on the stadium -- which he said would've been a 'nine-figure investment' -- and replacing the grass field with artificial turf after exploring both options." In Akron, Nate Ulrich notes Banner also "revealed that the Browns privately discussed building a new stadium but ultimately decided to invest in the one they've been playing in since it opened in 1999." Banner said that the Browns "hope the project could attract other events such as concerts and soccer games to the stadium" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 11/14). Also in Akron, Marla Ridenour writes yesterday's announcement was the "first step toward giving fans what they have long deserved -- a state-of-the-art venue with some of the amenities taken for granted in other NFL cities." FirstEnergy Stadium will "never be a palace to compare" to AT&T Stadium. But the upgrades "will be a huge start." Browns President Alec Scheiner also said that Wi-Fi "would be considered" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 11/14).
WHO SHOULD PAY WHAT? In Cleveland, Terry Pluto writes the Browns "have several key people who have been involved in building stadiums in other cities." Pluto: "I'm all for whatever the Browns want to do to the stadium, assuming they pay for most of it." The Browns have a $62.5M loan from the NFL for stadium improvements, which "covers up to 50 percent of the project." What the Browns "can't do is go to the city and say, 'OK, let's go 50-50,' and expect the city to pay" about $60M. Banner said that the Browns "plan to make a 'significant investment' in the stadium." Pluto: "And they should do exactly that" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/14). ESPN.com's Pat McManamon wrote the Browns "never said they were asking the city for money," and it is "logical to think the mayor deserves to know first." But it also is "logical to think it would be a wise PR move to generate enthusiasm about the improvements before asking for money" (ESPN.com, 11/13).