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Volume 26 No. 65
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Browns Receiving Lots Of Attention Ahead Of Upcoming Season

New stars on the Browns like Odell Beckham Jr. (r) have boosted the team's business metrics this offseason

Almost every part of the NFL’s business has "taken notice of the energy around the Browns," including sponsors, media, retail and ticketing, according to Fischer & Ourand of SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL. The Browns' "on-field expectations combined with marketable stars have translated into jumps in every conceivable business metric." A-B InBev Head of U.S. Marketing Nick Kelly said that the Browns are a "top national priority for Bud Light" this season. He added, “We are going to closely watch because we put so much equity into them last year that we’re going to try and do a bit more this year.” The Browns will play four primetime games this season, when the team "hasn’t had more than two" since '08. Fox "pushed to have the Browns host the Steelers in Week 11 on 'Thursday Night Football,' based in part on all the excitement surrounding the team." Meanwhile, CBS has "scheduled the Browns for three late Sunday national windows; last year it only carried one Browns game during that time." Browns Exec VP & COO David Jenkins said that the interest in the team has "translated into better season-ticket sales." Jenkins said sales are now “in the mid-60,000s” for the 68,000-seat FirstEnergy Stadium, up about 20% from last year. He added that there is a new season-ticket waiting list, with "several thousand people who have turned over $100 non-refundable deposits." Meanwhile, single-game tickets are "sold out." Ticketmaster said that the Browns are "No. 2 in the NFL for resale volume, up from No. 20 last year" (SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/12 issue).

GOOD TIMES: In N.Y., Ben Shpigel wrote the Browns are "functioning like a competent franchise" under first-year coach Freddie Kitchens and a front office led by GM John Dorsey. Browns G Joel Bitonio said, "Starting up top, Dorsey’s really trying to keep upstairs quiet, and I think Coach Kitchens feels the same." Shpigel noted Kitchens "refuses to abide anything, or anyone, that encroaches on his goal of winning the Super Bowl; he has vowed to fire any assistant caught leaking information to the news media." Yet he has "endeared himself to players by encouraging them to flaunt their personality, as long as their behavior doesn’t hurt the team." The Browns have "held social media tutorials to reinforce what they hope players already know: not to spread, as Bitonio put it, anything their grandmothers wouldn’t feel comfortable reading or seeing." Meanwhile, attendance at Browns' "open training camp sessions" is up 30% from last year (N.Y. TIMES, 8/11).