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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Browns Choose Team Name For Stadium, End Naming Rights Deal

  • The deal is ending seven years early after FirstEnergy paid $107M for rights intended to run through 2030
  • The team’s stadium, originally built in 1999, now reverts to its former name, Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns and FirstEnergy Corp have mutually agreed to end their stadium naming rights deal, ending a sponsorship entangled in a political scandal.

Cleveland’s stadium has been called FirstEnergy Stadium since 2013, when the Akron-based electric utility company paid $107 million for a deal that was supposed to last through 2030. 

The deal now ends about three years after news of FirstEnergy’s involvement in the 2020 Ohio nuclear bribery scandal in which $60 million was paid to a company controlled by Larry Householder, the former speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, in exchange for passing a $1.3 billion bailout for nuclear power operators in the state.

FirstEnergy was fined $230 million for its role in the crime, and Cleveland’s city council passed nonbinding legislation last year in favor of removing FirstEnergy as the Browns’ stadium sponsor. 

The team’s stadium, originally built in 1999 upon the Browns’ return to the NFL, now reverts to its former name, Cleveland Browns Stadium.

A report last year said the Browns were seeking to build a publicly funded $1 billion new stadium, but team owner Jimmy and Dee Haslam denied the report. Cleveland mayor Justin Bibb pushed earlier this year for any new stadium or renovations to be conscious of Cleveland’s lakefront prosperity. 

“It’s going to be important that we, as a community, find a way to not just think about the stadium, but the lakefront as an asset for the entire region,” Bibb said in January.

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