From a Papal mass to the Beatles, the plot of land FirstEnergy Stadium was built upon has played host to games, concerts and many other events since the groundbreaking of Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1930, which opened its doors in 1931.
In the 81 years and 12 days since German boxer Max Schmeling fought Young Stribling for the World Heavyweight Championship in front of 37,000 fans, both the Browns and Cleveland Indians baseball team called it home. When the original Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996, the old stadium was torn down to make way for Cleveland Browns Stadium.
On Tuesday, the stadium got a new name: FirstEnergy Stadium, Home of the Cleveland Browns.
“This is a very precious plot of land that we sit on today,” Jim Donovan, the radio voice of the Browns, said in the opening remarks of the press conference. “It is a piece of Cleveland history that has given us some of the most amazing moments.
“Whatever your memory was, whether it was a thrilling Browns win, the ’64 Championship game, the great Kardiac Kids games that were played here, the tremendous, thrilling playoff game here against the Jets and the AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos, or the Indians’ moments, it is part of your life, if you were a sports fan in northeast Ohio, and certainly, in the city of Cleveland.”
Tony Alexander, President and CEO of FirstEnergy, said the partnership with the Browns is “good for Cleveland.”
“The Browns clearly have a loyal fan-base and a great franchise, but more importantly, both FirstEnergy and the Browns share a rich tradition in this region,” Alexander said. “It makes good business sense to better align our brands in ways that not only can help FirstEnergy grow its customer base, but also help us highlight, in the national media, one of the region’s leading companies, FirstEnergy.
“It’s good for FirstEnergy and it’s good for the Cleveland Browns. I’m very excited to be a part of it. This is really a three-way partnership between the Browns, FirstEnergy, and the City of Cleveland. This is the largest area FirstEnergy is privileged to serve. It is the success of this region that is critically important, not only for FirstEnergy, but for all of us. It is a top priority for the company.”
FirstEnergy Stadium has a seating capacity of more than 73,200, and features 8,802 club-level seats between the Lake View and City View Clubs, as well as 142 luxury suites.
Fans have packed the stadium to see Browns games, as well as World Cup friendlies for both the U.S. Men’s and Women’s soccer teams, an Ohio State-Toledo football game, and concerts from country music legends George Strait, Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw.
“This is a beautiful facility,” Alexander said. “It’s absolutely outstanding. They did a great job and the city did a great job and everybody involved in the initial architecture did a wonderful job. I think this is a great asset for this area. With FirstEnergy’s name on it, I just think we improve it a little bit.”