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Cleveland Browns Looking to Renovate FirstEnergy Stadium

The Cleveland Browns were rumored to be planning to build a new US$1-billion covered stadium. However, the NFL franchise denied that and said that it was looking into renovating its existing stadium instead.

The team announced they launched a feasibility study that would determine whether renovating the Browns’ existing arena, the FirstEnergy Stadium, is a better solution to building a new stadium.

Determining  the Cost of the Project

Peter John-Baptiste, Senior VP of Communications for the Browns and Haslam Sports Group, said that the Browns’ goal was to find ways to “best approach the future of the lakefront and that the stadium was a “critical piece” for any such project.

He quashed all speculation on the matter by saying that the feasibility study they launched did not involve building a new stadium or showcasing new sites for it. 

John-Baptiste said that renovating their current arena was the goal of the study and that they also wanted to see how they could provide better accessibility to the lakefront and create a destination that would offer “major development opportunities” (retail, office, parks, etc.) year-round.

He added that creating an “extensive land bridge” was the Browns’ top priority and that, since they were only at the start of their study, they would wait until the study is completed in 2023 to determine the cost and feasibility of renovating the stadium.

The Baltimore Relocation

FirstEnergy Stadium is the twelfth-oldest stadium in the NFL. The US$283-million arena was built in 1999 after the NFL delivered on its promise and allowed Cleveland to once again have an NFL franchise.

The Browns left Cleveland after the 1995 season and moved to football-hungry Baltimore. Baltimore was without an NFL franchise since 1983 when the then-Baltimore Colts relocated to Indiana. 

And while Baltimore got an NFL team after waiting 12 years for it, in 1995, Cleveland lost its NFL franchise. Fortunately, the City of Cleveland managed to keep the team’s name, colors, and history, so the Browns could return to Cleveland three years after their former owner Art Modell moved them to Baltimore.

And that was the last time the Browns were searching for a new stadium. They now face a similar issue. However, unlike in 1999, when the Browns built a new arena for their home games, they will now probably renovate their existing one.  

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