The Cleveland Browns NFL American football team has reportedly identified at least two sites for a potential new stadium.
The team’s owners, Dee and Jimmy Haslam, said in March that they were exploring options to either upgrade FirstEnergy Stadium or develop a new home in Cleveland, and it appears that the latter is the preferred option.
The NEOtrans blog, citing sources close to the Browns and Haslam Sports Group, said that the team’s owners believe the costs involved with renovating FirstEnergy Stadium would “approach the cost of a new stadium”. According to the report, any new stadium would likely cost more than $1bn (£818m/€950m).
Renovating FirstEnergy Stadium would include the installation of a roof and the report claims that the Browns’ owners are “not happy” with the condition of the venue, which opened in 1999.
The Haslams have previously said that the Browns’ stadium options would depend on how the City of Cleveland progresses with plans to renovate the lakefront site on which FirstEnergy Stadium sits. The Browns have previously backed the City’s vision to enhance connectivity between the downtown area and lakefront.
Peter John-Baptiste, senior vice-president of communications for the Browns and Haslam Sports Group, told NEOtrans that its report was a “little too far out in front of the story” and added that feasibility studies are being carried out on developing land near where the current stadium is.
The report added that a new stadium could potentially be built on the site currently occupied by Cleveland’s Main Post Office, or on a site just east of downtown Cleveland’s central business district.
The Browns’ lease deal to play at FirstEnergy Stadium expires after the 2028 NFL season.
Earlier this month, Cleveland City Council passed a resolution calling for FirstEnergy to relinquish naming rights to the Browns’ stadium.
The council passed the resolution due to FirstEnergy’s role in a bribery scheme which is currently under investigation.