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The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission remains an important community asset in advocating for sports in Northeast Ohio

From an elite sports awards program to magnifying equality in sports, the GCSC is an invaluable community asset


The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission continues to succeed in its mission of being an important asset as an advocate for sports in the Cleveland area, which the Cleveland Browns are proud to support. The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission has been a longstanding Browns First and Ten Community Partner, allowing the two organizations to work together to make an impact across Northeast Ohio.

In an effort to impact the Northeast Ohio community, GCSC and professional sports teams helped develop the Cleveland Power of Sport Summit series, held in alignment with major events in the area. This past January, the CL3 Alliance partnered with the summit to host a Conversations for Change, focused on the topic of Athletes and Law Enforcement Uniting.

Over 100 local youth from the City of Cleveland Rec Centers, as well as law enforcement officers from across Northeast Ohio, came together at Cleveland Browns Stadium to hear a panel discussion with Browns chief communications officer Peter John-Baptiste, Cavs senior manager of youth basketball Jess Davis and Shaker Heights Chief of Police Wayne Hudson, moderated by Camryn Justice of News 5. Topics ranged from the importance of recognizing and celebrating MLK Jr. Day, to understanding how sports have the power to bring people together. 

This is the third time the CL3 Alliance has hosted a Conversations for Change in alignment with the Power of Sport Summit. The first was held at Progressive Field during the NFL Draft, and the second was held downtown during the NBA All-Star Game. Conversations for Change have the same goal – bring together local youth and law enforcement for meaningful conversations and dialogue that they otherwise may not have.

The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission's Power of Sport Summit is a celebration of diversity, equity and inclusion that demonstrates the power of sport as a catalyst for change. With two overlapping goals, there has been a natural tie that has allowed it to flourish in Cleveland.

GCSC started off 2024 celebrating the 24th Annual Greater Cleveland Sports Awards in late January at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse – honoring athletes at all levels of sports for their achievements in the last calendar year.

As the event began, a video opened the program showing clips of significant sports moments across all levels of sport from the last year in Cleveland – including Nick Chubb's guitar smash on Dec. 28, Jim Donovan's call announcing the Browns in the playoffs and former Browns QB Joe Flacco earning a game ball following a game. There were clips including welcoming Donovan back to the radio booth after his battle with cancer and Kevin Stefanski's victory speeches.

The Browns continued to have their presence felt throughout the event, as DT Maurice Hurst and Browns alumnus Jamel White presented the High School Athlete of the Year Award. They announced Marquise Davis (School and sport) and Sophia Sindelar (school and sport) as the 2023 Male and Female High School Athlete of the Year winners.

DE Myles Garrett was awarded the Professional Athlete of the Year Award, which is presented to a professional athlete who most distinguished themselves throughout athletic excellence during the past year or athletic season. Then a video rolled on the screen with Garrett sharing his appreciation for the award.

"It's an honor to receive the Pro Athlete of the Year Award," Garrett said. "I don't take it for granted. The city of Cleveland has adopted me and accepted me. There are a whole lot of very deserving athletes all over the city of Cleveland across all sports. I couldn't do it without the help of my teammate and my coaches, not only motivating and elevating me, but continue to push and drive each other towards success, and it's really turned into something special and hopefully we continue to do that. But thank you to the city of Cleveland and let's continue to make this a special year with all sports going around."

Executive Vice President and General Manager Andrew Berry accepted the award on behalf of Garrett.

"Everybody knows how dominant of a player he is on the field and how important he is to our success defensively and really just as a team," Berry said. "But the other aspect is just his leadership. He's really one of our tone setters for our culture. And so, we couldn't be more proud of accepting this award on his behalf."

As the event continued, GCSC honored both teams and individuals through the Collegiate Athlete of the Year Award, Senior Athlete Award, Lifetime Achievement Award and the Courage Award.

Then, as the event came to a close, the Browns were honored for the Best Moment in Sports for 2023.

Footage rolled of the call from the Browns clinching their first playoff berth since 2020 on Thursday Night Football against the Jets. Then, they showed different moments throughout the 2023 season that encapsulated the Browns mixed in with scenes from that Week 17 win in Cleveland Browns Stadium, and sound bites from DE Myles Garrett on the resiliency of the team and former Browns QB Joe Flacco reflecting on last memories from the 2023 season.

As the video ended, "Best Moment in Cleveland Sports" flashed across the screen, and G Joel Bitonio was welcomed onto the stage to accept the award on behalf of the Browns.

Berry also shared his appreciation for the Browns being recognized with the Best Moment in Cleveland Sports.

"Again, an incredible honor to receive it from the Sports Commission," Berry said. "I think that Thursday night against the Jets was not just special for us organizationally, but really, across the city and our fan base. There was just a level of excitement and electricity in the air that honestly can't be replicated or duplicated. In terms of moving forward, our goal every year will be to win the division. And we really do want to have more of these special moments on a yearly basis to share with our fans."

Cleveland hosted yet another major sporting event in 2024. The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and the Mid-American Conference served as co-hosts for the 2024 Women's Final Four, which took place at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse beginning April 5. The national championship game was played on April 7 between the University of South Carolina and the University of Iowa. This is the second time that Cleveland has hosted the Women's Final Four, as they previously did in 2007 when Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt won her seventh of eight national championships won by the Lady Vols.

As a First and Ten Community Partner, GCSC is invited to Browns Training Camp to share volunteer opportunities and other ways to get involved with the organization. Being a First and Ten Community Partner invites them to activate on Dawg Pound Drive for a game during the season and annual support from the Browns for all tentpole events. Committed to the Northeast Ohio community, since 2000, GCSC has brought over 200 sporting and competitive events to Cleveland, providing more than $917 million in economic impact to Northeast Ohio and countless volunteer opportunities.

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