Business leaders want Ohio to spend $5m to move Browns training camp from different part of state

We may have a new definition of chutzpah, courtesy of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam:

The Cleveland Browns and the Columbus business community want Greater Cleveland taxpayers to help pay $5 million for the Browns to move their training camp to a site on or near the Ohio State University campus…

The request from Columbus business leaders says the $5 million is to help pay for an “athletic practice training facility.”

It then describes the project this way: “The Athletic Practice and Training Facility will serve as a backdrop for collegiate athletic teams and community youth programs to utilize throughout the year. It will also attract professional athletic teams and franchises to our region.”

Translated: We’re going to disguise this as a tax request to help kids, but it’s really about the Browns.

The request was actually from the Columbus Partnership, a local business group, which submitted it as part of a list of funding requests for the state’s capital budget. (I know what you’re thinking: My state never asks me what I want its capital budget spent on! Yes, but you do not have the awesome clout and political mandate of the Columbus, Ohio business community.) Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Brent Larkin says that “the funds are being sought with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s knowledge and approval,” though he doesn’t cite a source for that other than that Haslam has been talking to Columbus about moving his team’s training camp there.

The gross part here, really, is that the state of Ohio would be paying to move a business operation from one part of the state — the Cleveland suburb of Berea, which has already spent $25 million on the Browns’ current training camp — to another. The economic war among the states is bad enough without the states themselves encouraging in-state skirmishes.

9 comments on “Business leaders want Ohio to spend $5m to move Browns training camp from different part of state

  1. It’s so hard to begin identifying the best part of this, but I think I may just vote for the continued complaining from Larkin. This past year he has been steadily kvetching about various ways in which “our” Browns are a disgrace, after all we’ve done for them…

    …despite having been part of the establishment’s push to renew those same Browns’ generous, no-strings-attached subsidies.

    Sadly, this seems to be The Plain Dealer editorial’s formula on more than one issue, i.e. “first cede all bargaining power, then expect voluntary generosity.”

  2. As citizen of Ohio, I think the money would be better spent to make sure Toledo’s water and other problems with toxic algae blooms is cleared up. I am sure the people of Flint, Michigan who have been poisoned with lead tainted water would agree that Michigan should also have prioritized safe drinking water over funding stadiums. Every day, we are looking more like ancient Rome during its decline and fall.

  3. Mary Collier – Please try to be reasonable, we are trying to have a fair discussion. I understand that you may THINK that drinking water is more important than football practice facilites, but its not.

    How dare you suggest that football players may not have to have top of the line facilities. How else are they going to play their games? Do you WANT the Browns to stay terrible.

    Besides, water is overrated.

  4. So let’s see if this makes sense. The owner of the Cleveland Browns wants to move training camp to Columbus, where they would play second fiddle to Ohio State preseason training. OSU preseason training that is running at roughly the same time as the Browns training camp. Does he think fans will choose to watch the bumbling Browns over Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes?

  5. @Mr. Sensibility – No, but OSU can use it as a recruiting tool since it gives OSU players direct contact with NFL players, which honestly what this sounds like. Otherwise it’s just plain crazy.

  6. Brilliant idea. Create the practice facility in the middle C along the 3 C highway of Ohio and then have it used by the Browns and the Bengals and the Buckeyes. Massive cost savings and efficiency that I’m sure Governor Kasich would support, even if it made every fanbase unhappy in their own special way (1 hr drive to practice).

  7. Columbus ohio sports columnist – we have NFL fans in Columbus and the Browns have millions of dollars in revenues and expenses so this will get done.–browns-camp-in-columbus-makes-sense.html

  8. Having observed the Browns in recent seasons, it’s obvious that they currently don’t have ANY practice facilities at all.

  9. Today’s paper (Dayton Daily News front of Sports section) points out “Taxpayers off hook for relocation costs”: “A Columbus development group plans to stop pushing a request for Ohio taxpayers to help pay $5 million to build a practice facility for the Cleveland Browns at Ohio State so the team can move its training camp…Group CEO Alex Fischer said the funding request was misunderstood. The proposal had been met with backlash in Cleveland.”