Channel 3's Jim Donovan confirms that the Cleveland Browns have been sold to new owner Jimmy Haslam III of Tennessee.
Donovan confirms the deal is worth in excess of $1 billion. The two-part deal includes an initial payment of $700 million that gives Haslam a controlling interest and a payment at a later date of more than $300 million to complete the ownership takeover.
According to Donovan, one of the last parts of the deal to be worked out was the outstanding contract debt owed to previous Browns coaches and executives. Haslam, according to sources, was unwilling to pick up any part of those payments as part of the deal.
City and team leaders have said repeatedly the Browns will stay in Cleveland and keeping the team here was a condition of the negotiations.
The NFL ownership still has to approve the sale but that is expected to be simply a formality.
It is the fourth most lucrative team sale in sports history.
Haslam has previously owned a minority stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is in Berea today.
NFL.com is reporting that Eagles' president Joe Banner will be part of Haslam's executive team.
The Lerner family has owned the Browns since 1999 when they returned to the NFL. Randy Lerner inherited the team upon his father's death in 2002.