I had the pleasure to attend the Cleveland Planning Commission hearing today and testify. Even though I am impressed with many of the fan enhancements proposed to First Energy Stadium by the Cleveland Browns; I sincerely question the loss of 3,000 of the least expensive seats to the fans in the facility, and the loss of revenue associated with these seats to the City of Cleveland and downtown businesses.
I clearly understand the Browns plan to enhance advertising revenue opportunities on their new proposed state-of-the-art scoreboards and to improve fan access to the facility — a major flaw from the original rushed design and construction.
However, it is more clear now that the overwhelming dollar amount for the facility upgrades is ultimately to improve the Cleveland Browns’ bottom line through additional advertising and promotional space on their new state-of-the-art scoreboards both static advertising and electronic as we heard today.
We heard the NFL could contribute half of the improvement costs through a loan to the Browns. I assume the NFL views the Browns as a worthy investment. As I’ve stated publicly, I and my colleagues am sure would be willing to consider a likewise loan to the Browns, versus taking away capital funds from much needed city projects for our residents and neighborhoods.
I am once again looking to the Browns’ civic soul in these negotiations and hope they will not disappoint our citizens who have supported this organization with their heart and soul. I call upon Mayor Jackson and the administration to bargain vigorously on our behalf.