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Cleveland Browns executives, fans weigh in on reports of a potential new stadium

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 5:21 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - When it comes to fans, the Cleveland Browns have some of the most passionate in the league.

So when it comes to something like moving the stadium, they have pretty strong opinions.

“Leave it where it is,” said Browns fan Brian Bolling.

The question of whether the Browns could be building a new stadium has been intensifying since Friday.

That’s when NEOtrans real-estate blogger Ken Prendergast reported the team is leaning towards building a new stadium, instead of renovating the current one.

According to the blog, the owners of the stadium aren’t happy with how it has aged and the cost of rebuilding and adding a roof is approaching the same cost of a new stadium.

Browns Senior Vice President Peter John-Baptiste issued a statement regarding the potential of a new stadium:

As we have consistently communicated, along with the City of Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and other prominent local organizations, we have been immersed in discussing ways to best approach the lakefront’s future and the stadium naturally is a critical piece to the long-term execution of such a project. Contrary to recent speculation, a recent feasibility study we launched does not contemplate a new stadium or showcase new stadium sites. A significant stadium renovation at our current site is the premise of the study as well as a focus on how to provide accessibility to the lakefront, drive density and create 365-destination major development opportunities that would include new public parks, retail, office, experiential and residential spaces. The vision, as many in our community have already seen, is centered on an extensive land bridge. As we are just beginning the study, we certainly do not have enough information to determine the cost of renovating the stadium or what the aesthetics of such a renovation would entail. We believe our study will help answer those questions and should be completed in 2023. The future of the stadium is one of several important pieces to the long-term execution of the lakefront project, and our organization looks forward to continuing to work with our community partners and leaders to identify next steps and our role in helping advance this initiative.

Peter John-Baptiste, Senior Vice President, Communications for Haslam Sports Group

However, fans say that the current spot on the water is prime for FirstEnergy stadium.

“Leave it right where it is,” said Bolling. “It’s a beautiful spot. It’s on the lake. You can watch the game and be on the lake. It’s a little chilly but if you’re from Cleveland, you gotta be used to it.”

Bolling has been a Browns fan for the past 20 years. He’s even worked security for the games.

While he admits the 23-year-old stadium needs work, including a roof, he’s not convinced starting from scratch is the answer.

“Yea it’s about old but still, don’t move it...” said Bolling.

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