CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam appear to be letting the team’s on-field performance take the spotlight this year.
ESPN reported in 2018 that the Haslams are studying development options for renovating FirstEnergy Stadium and building a new home elsewhere in the city. But the Haslams are not saying much about their plans right now.
The city of Cleveland owns the stadium and its lease with the Browns expires in 2029, which might seem far away. But plans to renovate or build a new stadium will take years.
You can read more about the history of FirstEnergy Stadium in WKYC's interview with attorney Fred Nance here.
Channel 3 asked the Browns this week a few questions about the progress of plans for their future home. Here are the unedited answers from the team.
Have the owners settled any approach – renovation or build new?
No. Really too early to determine. Decision will be based on what is best for all parties involved.
Have the owners decided on staying on the lakefront?
Again, too early to determine. Lots to discuss. Grateful to be part of the conversations because our lease is up in nine years. Obviously, we are committed to this region and planning for an enormous project like this will take time.
Have the owners at least set a timeline for when they want to get more serious about a plan and pulling stakeholders together?
Discussions are ongoing but there really is no definitive timeline to be set. With our lease being up in nine years it’s important for all parties to have these discussions so we can determine the optimal plan.
What impact, if any, do the Browns owners believe the Indians upcoming request for a major renovation could have on Browns’ plans?
Hard to say what impact that has because our discussions have been preliminary.
The team also offered this statement in a follow up email:
I want to make sure it’s clear that we are really excited about the opportunities that lie ahead to make a positive impact in this city and region with this potential project. We continue to view ourselves as the caretakers of a great community asset in the Cleveland Browns. We want to be a unifier for the region that can help get leaders together to make decisions that benefit the entire community.