Cleveland Browns home no longer named FirstEnergy Stadium
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Cleveland Browns announced the organization and FirstEnergy Corp. have ended their stadium naming rights agreement on April 13.
The Browns stated the decision was “amicable.”
The naming rights to the stadium were sold to FirstEnergy for a reported $107 million in 2013, according to Cleveland City Council.
What’s old is new again as the home of the football team is once again named Cleveland Browns Stadium.
“Together with the Browns, we have worked to enrich our communities while increasing awareness of FirstEnergy as an energy leader. Since we signed this agreement ten years ago, our priorities have shifted as the company evolved from a competitive energy supplier to a regulated utility, and as a result, our corporate initiatives must also evolve,” said interim president and CEO John Somerhalder. “Like the rest of northern Ohio, we remain passionate Browns fans and will cheer them on in upcoming seasons. We also look forward to maintaining our deep relationships with civic, arts and other organizations to bring good energy to our communities.”
“We’ve had a great association with FirstEnergy for more than two decades, and we appreciate this partnership and what it has created for our team and the broader northeast Ohio community,” Haslam Sports Group COO Dave Jenkins stated. “We reached this amicable agreement that is consistent with the productive relationship we have always enjoyed, and we wish FirstEnergy success with their future initiatives. Our home stadium will return to its former name, Cleveland Browns Stadium.”
Cleveland City Council passed a resolution last June that called for the removal of the FirstEnergy name from the Cleveland Browns stadium, citing the company’s role in a bribery scheme that was under federal investigation.
“Council believes,” the resolution reads, “that FirstEnergy applied pressure using phony citizen groups and paid out significant dollars to restrict or destroy our publicly owned Cleveland Public Power.”
Cleveland City Council stated the stadium receives its electricity from Cleveland Public Power.
The Akron-based utility company was charged in the political corruption scandal for allegedly manipulating the passage of House Bill 6.
“I don’t believe that the municipally owned stadium that the Cleveland Browns play in should bear the name of this tainted company,” Ward 16 Councilperson Brian Kazy previously stated.
Kazy said FirstEnergy failed to acknowledge its criminal behavior by continuing to market itself using the public’s taxpayer-funded stadium.
Cleveland City Council shared this statement on April 13 on the renaming of Cleveland Browns Stadium:
“Today, the Cleveland Browns announced they plan to remove the First Energy name from our municipal stadium for the upcoming season. Cleveland City Council has supported a name change for the stadium for nearly a year. Councilman Brian Kazy (Ward 16) introduced Resolution 541-2022 in May 2022, urging the Cleveland Browns to remove the name. Council overwhelmingly approved the resolution in June 2022. Council is pleased to hear of the name change and that the Cleveland Browns are restoring the original name of Cleveland Browns Stadium for the upcoming season. Clevelanders own the stadium, and it is only fitting to call it by a name of which we can all be proud.”
Councilman Brian Kazy also released his own statement:
“For years, First Energy applied political pressure to attempt to restrict or destroy Cleveland Public Power and was involved in Ohio’s biggest bribery scandal, resulting in ratepayers paying nearly $1.3 billion in bailouts for the company. Council passed Resolution 541-2022 in May 2022 to encourage the Cleveland Browns to remove the name from our municipal stadium. I led the charge and am pleased to hear of the name change and that the Cleveland Browns are restoring the original name of Cleveland Browns Stadium for the upcoming season. Clevelanders own the stadium, and it is only fitting to call it by a name that we can all be proud of.”
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