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Dee and Jimmy Haslam 'open-minded' on potential pathways for the future of the Browns' stadium

Haslams believe stadium project can be transformative for Cleveland

Stadium Update 3.26

ORLANDO, Fla. — Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam spoke at the NFL Annual League Meetings on Monday about the future of the Browns' stadium.

There are two main paths forward that the Haslams have narrowed their focus around as they continue their conversations with the city of Cleveland and Mayor Justin Bibb.  

"We have two potentially really good options, a major remodel of where we are now that will be, Dee used the word transformative, for Cleveland Browns Stadium. It'll be transformative or build a new dome stadium," Jimmy Haslam said. "They're both very hard to work out. But we have two great options. We're going to pursue them both. And sometime in the next year or two, we'll say, 'Okay, here's the direction we're going.'"

The Haslams began considering another location for the Browns' stadium as they look to solve the issues they see with the current lakefront stadium, such as the accessibility of the stadium and the surrounding parking.

"When you start thinking about what Cleveland can be and what the vision for this city is, I think we underestimate what a great place it is," Dee Haslam said. "And I think there's an opportunity here to perhaps build a dome stadium that can transform our area. That's something exciting to think about. We're looking at both options. Not one option is above the other. But I do think that Cleveland deserves to be thought of as this evolving, forward-thinking, creative city as opposed to not thinking big."

However, there is not a clear deadline on when there would be a decision about the direction they will take. The Haslams said they are still in the process of evaluating all of their options, putting in their due diligence with numerous conversations in weekly meetings. The balancing act comes in working to create a high-end experience for the fans, as well as to make a smart financial decision.

They have an option for 176 acres in Brook Park as a potential site for new location for the stadium that could allow the Browns to have a domed stadium. There are benefits to the dome, as Jimmy Haslam said it would allow events to be held at the stadium throughout the year. At the moment, they believe they have reached the ceiling of how many events can be held at the current Cleveland Browns Stadium on the lakefront because of the constraints of weather in Northeast Ohio.

However, they still see building up the lakefront as an important part of Cleveland and an opportunity to transform the downtown area. Dee Haslam sees the need to create accessibility to the waterfront, whether that's through a renovated stadium or not.

"I think the lakefront still is a great piece of property and it would be a great place for people to live," Dee Haslam said. "It could be absolutely amazing. So, regardless of what happens, the lakefront needs to happen. It's really critical to our community. So, I think there's a lot of great plans for downtown. I'm personally really excited. I work on the partnership and that's one of the main things we talk about is how important it is."

As the Haslams take each step through the process, they reiterated they are open-minded to each option in front of them. Jimmy Haslam said if they moved in the direction of a new stadium, it would allow them to create ample parking – a feature they feel isn't available at the current lakefront stadium.

Either option also creates an economic opportunity for Northeast Ohio with the undertaking of a complex project of renovating the current stadium on the lakefront or building a new domed stadium.

"It could be transformative for the community. I mean, obviously there'd be a lot of jobs regardless of whether we remodel or new construction, but just the economic development piece is big for both," Dee Haslam said. "It's just a huge opportunity to set a vision for Cleveland and what we could be. I think it's an exciting process for us and the community."

The Haslams also said there is an opportunity for naming rights for the stadium, with "several good prospects" and working to get something settled.

At the heart of it all, though, the Haslams reiterated their intention is to do to what is best for the fanbase and the city of Cleveland.

"You could paint the vision of what our community could be and the jobs it can provide and the surrounding development or just the growth that could happen from it," Dee Haslam said. "So, I look at it as very positive. Either way, t's very positive for the community, but it's not bad. There's nothing negative about not being downtown. I think there's still just a huge story about that. There's a vision there that we believe that Cleveland is a great place and deserves a domed stadium."

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