Browns owner says team may seek new stadium to promote Cleveland redevelopment, this is where we came in, bye

If Field of Schemes has an origin story, it almost certainly begins on the day in 1995 when Joanna Cagan came to a meeting of our Brooklyn Metro Times zine and complained about how the Cleveland Browns were moving to Baltimore to become the Ravens, and the NFL was shaking down Cleveland for hundreds of millions of dollars in stadium money in order to provide a replacement team. So it’s more than a little weird to be reading this:

The Cleveland Browns have begun long-term discussions about a development project that could include a substantially renovated stadium or a new facility at a different site in downtown Cleveland.

Well, sure, the old place is 19 years old! Gotta be thinking about a new one!

Browns co-owner Dee Haslam told ESPN that a new stadium could be a decade out, but that really she just wants the Browns to be about helping contribute to the growth and revival of Cleveland, because that’s what football is all about, or something:

“The main thing is to start the conversation, at some point,” said Haslam, who agreed to the interview after ESPN learned of the talks. “I don’t know that we’re ready to start the conversation, but we are ready to get all the information we can about what’s possible.

“So I think it’s really important to find out what’s possible. There could be a lot of great ideas that we might not be able to do because it’s not feasible for one reason or another. I don’t want to get the horse in front of the cart until we’re knowledgeable enough to know, because we’re not informed enough to know right now.

“But we do know that we have a desire to make a bigger impact on the future of Cleveland.”

Okay, so clearly this is very preliminary, which makes sense, as the Browns’ lease at the stadium taxpayers built for them in 1999 runs until 2029 (by which time “it could be one of the league’s oldest facilities,” helpfully notes ESPN, which, hey, surprise for you guys, it’s already in the older half of NFL stadiums because those things are like goddamn mayflies). Also clearly, it’s Haslam noting that Cleveland is starting to explore ideas for downtown redevelopment, and thinking, we should try to get us some of that action, and then when questioned by ESPN spouting a lot of nothing about “making an impact” because what else is she going to say, really?

What would have been nice would have been for ESPN to ask: So, why does downtown Cleveland still need redevelopment focused around a football stadium when it just built a football stadium 19 years ago on the premise that it would help redevelop downtown? But that’s probably a bit much to expect from a network that has a $1.9 billion a year business partnership with the NFL.


12 comments on “Browns owner says team may seek new stadium to promote Cleveland redevelopment, this is where we came in, bye

  1. If they really cared about Cleveland, they’d admit a football stadium is a terrible waste of space in a downtown area. Outlying areas are better for facilities that get used 15-20 times a year, if you’re lucky with concerts & events included.

    • They’ve had 2 winning seasons since 2000. Their regular season record since “rebirth” in 1999 is 88-216. During the 19 seasons they have existed in their current form, fully 10 of them ‘featured’ 4 wins or less per season. The last three seasons have resulted in just 4 wins in total.

      One of the enduring mysteries is why anyone pays to see this team attempt to play.

  2. I think this is the first time Cleveland has been proactive about anything. They waited too long last time and that resulted in losing the team that went on to win 2 Super Bowls and Cleveland got a lame stadium that wastes prime real estate. Hopefully this time they get it right by starting early.

    • What makes it lame? Seems like you can see the game, unfortunately for Cleveland fans.

      Cleveland is too small, too poor, and too close to other NFL cities to be a three sport town. No one is talking civic rebirth with a solid baseball team playing 81 times.

      • Its a generic stadium. It was basically the same design as Baltimore and Tennessee. If not for the color of the seats (and the names on the ring of honor) you couldn’t tell it apart from other NFL stadiums. Also the open corners were a stupid idea when the stadium is surrounded by the lake on three sides. It was a rush job resulting from the old team leaving and the city being given a 3 year timeline to plan, design, and build a new stadium. Doing preliminary research 10 years out is a positive. Especially if you’ve spent any time dealing with Cleveland politicians you know they take forever to do anything.

      • And at one time they had 4 teams with the Cleveland Barons for a few short years in the mid 70’s. Same with Kansas City.They had 4 teams as well around the same time frame.Economy killed them as with the Barons and their poor play.Too bad.I think if they were around today the Barons would have great rivalries with Detroit,Pittsburgh,and Toronto.

  3. The Cleveland Browns have probably had the worst ROI for the public of any sports stadium. If there was a time to usefully use cliches about finding yourself in a hole—here it is.

    I’m doubt Cleveland would be worse off for the Browns leaving, since even their heartbreaking teams are a distant memory. Putting this circus in a new stadium does nothing for Cleveland or the Browns..

  4. Depending on when you determine the Oakland A’s started ‘needing’ a new ballpark, we’re going to hit a point when some team builds TWO new stadiums in the time the Oakland A’s have been trying to build one. The Braves & Falcons are close. Some idiotic municipality (*ahem* Cleveland) might just do it.

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