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The City of Cleveland Pushes Back on Browns Stadium Plans

The Browns’ new stadium plans have a new complication: the city of Cleveland. On the 1st of April 2024, City of Cleveland councilman Brian Kazy announced legislation intended to push back on the potential relocation of the Browns’ stadium to the Brook Park location intended by the Haslams. This planned action by Brian Kazy stems from the relocation of the Browns to Baltimore in 1996 under Art Modell. Ohio Revised Code, section 9.67 stipulates that the city of Cleveland must approve any move by the Browns from their current stadium. Their lease with the stadium expires in 2028, and as the city owns the stadium, it holds considerable influence over the team’s future plans. It’s worth noting that the only other way to leave the stadium before the lease expires is to allow the opportunity for someone else to purchase the team, which the Haslams obviously will not do. This provision grants the city of Cleveland a significant say in determining the next steps for the Cleveland Browns’ new home, which looms on the horizon.

This development could lead to contentious negotiations. The Haslams have shown no signs of wanting to relocate the Browns from Ohio, let alone the greater Cleveland area. Now, the city council is asserting its authority to have a say in an issue that the Haslams would prefer to handle on their own. While it may be easier for the Haslams to manage this independently and then seek tax incentives for their preferred option, city council intervention was necessary. The last time the city of Cleveland hesitated in addressing the issue of a new Browns stadium, the team was lost, so it’s entirely appropriate for the city council to engage in the Browns’ new stadium process.

The involvement of the city council has injected new complexity into the Browns stadium discussion. In my previous analysis of this situation, I had concluded that Brook Park would be the likely choice as the Haslams would have full control over the area. Now, with the city of Cleveland involved, I’m back to a 50/50 outlook on what will happen. In interviews with Brian Kazy on Monday, April 1st, he emphasized the city’s desire for the Browns to remain in downtown Cleveland, especially given the substantial tax funds invested in the current lakefront stadium. I am pleased that the city is pushing back, as it fosters a scenario and outcome I ultimately desire a downtown location with a domed stadium, an option the Haslams previously ruled out.

Now that the city is fully engaged, the Haslams and the city will need to negotiate with each other to resolve the issue of the Browns’ next new home. Given the Haslams’ apparent preference for a domed stadium, I hope the city will propose a solution or compromise that accommodates this, perhaps even considering the USPS building location mentioned in one of my previous articles. Ultimately, this development is positive news for Cleveland Browns fans, as it appears to offer the best stadium option possible for both the Haslams and the taxpayers.


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