Cleveland Browns planning $120M stadium renovation
The Cleveland Browns, who have long been the doormat of the AFC North, have bolstered their image and vastly improved their play in 2013. Surprisingly, they’ve done this mostly with a vicious defense. In what they hope to be a continued trend of improvement in the coming years, the Browns have unveiled a $120 million renovation plan for FirstEnergy Stadium to go with it.
Browns CEO Joe Banner said the club will present its proposal, which includes the installation of new, high-definition video scoreboards, escalators and a reduction of 3,000 seats, to the city’s planning commission on Thursday. The Browns also will meet with Mayor Frank Jackson and city officials about approval and funding for the project.
Banner wouldn’t reveal who would be paying for the endeavor, but promised the Browns “will make a significant investment.” The NFL recently approved a $62.5 million loan to the team to be used toward stadium improvements and Banner said all of that money will be applied toward the plan.
The use of public funds for new facilities has been an ongoing debate. The Browns plan the renovation to take place in the next two off-seasons – in which time they should probably find a franchise quarterback. Cleveland plays their biggest game of the season Sunday when they travel to Cincinnati to take on the 6-4 Bengals. Nobody is running away with the AFC North, and with a Cleveland win, Baltimore loss, and Pittsburgh win, every team in the division would be two or less games out of first place.