Mayor pleased Browns will have company

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - A die-hard Browns fan, Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell is pleased her favorite team will have more than just NFL teams at its stadium this year.

Cleveland Browns Stadium will host its first non-professional football game since opening in 1999 when Tuskegee plays Hampton on Sept. 20 in the "Ohio Classic," part of a four-day celebration of
historically black colleges that will rotate annually between Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Campbell said it's important for the city's economy and exposure that the 73,000-seat stadium -- partly funded by taxpayer money -- is used for more than Browns games.

"We want to make sure that it's not just eight Sundays a year," Campbell said. "We want people in this area to understand where it is. It's such a great facility we want to use it more."

The Browns have been attempting to schedule a college football game at the stadium for some time. Team vice president Kofi Bonner said there have also been talks about hosting a high school game
featuring two marquee schools.

However, Bonner said the Browns' game schedule makes it difficult to have more non-NFL events.

The Browns are interested in scheduling more concerts at the stadium, although the team has concerns about damage to the field, Bonner said. Plus, not many acts play stadiums so large, he said.

An international soccer match between AC Milan of Italy and Glasgow Celtic of Scotland will be played at the stadium on July 25.

Organizers for the "Ohio Classic" are expecting a crowd of 40,000 for the game, which will switch to Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium in 2004. The four-day celebration will include other events
throughout the city.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)