Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner are full steam ahead putting in place their master plan to rebuild the Cleveland Browns – again.
And those plans clearly don’t include Tom Heckert or Pat Shurmur.
Both are expected to be let go as soon as Dec. 31 – a day after they wrap up the season in Pittsburgh.
The hiring of Alec Scheiner Tuesday as team president was the next step towards a complete overhaul of the organization from top to bottom.
The only question is will Haslam and Banner’s rebuild include blowing up what is already one of the youngest rosters in the NFL?
Changes behind the scenes, in the front office and on the sidelines were all but inevitable the day Haslam bought the Browns but it would be a shame to throw 3 years of hard work and the agonizing pain of losing in an effort to rebuild the roster by gutting it yet again.
Lost in all of the concern over what will happen to the football staff and roster – Haslam bought the team to make money. Banner and Scheiner will be charged with revamping the organization – especially the business side.
Here are a few things that could or should happen in an effort it increase the team’s revenue.
New uniforms: Other than the removal of the “AL” patch from the sleeves, the Browns uniforms will likely be the same in 2013. 2014 is a different story. The orange helmet won’t change but the uniforms will – not just to ‘modernize’ the team’s look but also to sell brand new jerseys to fans.
Nike is the king of creating new looks for teams – see Oregon and Ohio State’s football uniforms. It would be interesting to see what their creative minds could come up with for the Browns.
They’ll also look to create or use a logo for branding purposes.
The orange helmet, orange square or orange, brown and white stripe for national TV graphics doesn’t cut it. The most logical thing to do is bring back the Brownie elf and incorporate it into the logo as well as new uniforms.
Broadcast/media: Aside from the game day interaction with fans at the stadium, Banner and Scheiner intend to look at the organization’s multimedia department – radio, TV and internet. Their broadcast contracts are up at the end of the season.
The Browns already do a great deal of broadcast production in house but with Haslam’s wife, Dee, running RIVR Media which is helping produce “Road Tested” on the Travel Channel, one would imagine her company would assume some type of broadcast production role with the organization.
Columbus: Haslam has been quoted as saying he doesn’t feel that they have tapped the Columbus market sufficiently. One way to do that is to play a preseason game at the horseshoe in Columbus. Schedule the Tennessee Titans too.
Tickets would still be available for season ticket holders but with 105,000 available seats would give plenty of room for Columbus Browns fans.
Training Camp: Banner and Scheiner will have to decide is whether or not to keep all or part of training camp in Berea.
The benefit of having camp at their facility in Berea is the ability to use their own facilities and remain close to home for fans.
However, many teams, including the Steelers, who train in Latrobe, PA which is approximately an hour from Pittsburgh, do not train at their own complexes. Moving camp would definitely create additional revenue streams for the team.
Cleveland Browns Stadium: It is getting a facelift. There is no doubt. Both Banner and Scheiner are stadium guys and Haslam has made it no secret that it is on his list of priorities.
The questions are: what the renovations will entail, how much will they cost, who will pay for them and the timetable to complete them.
The NFL has perfected the art of leveraging tax dollars from cities for stadiums – thanks to the Browns’ move to Baltimore following the 1995 season. Even though the stadium is 14 years old, it wouldn’t be shocking if over the next 24 months they began planning for a whole new stadium in addition to fixing up Browns Stadium.
The stadium was built for the cheapest dollar possible and it’s functionality is substandard on a multitude of levels for a major sports venue. As a result many problems are apparent from the entrances, elevators, lack or stairs to concession lines and restrooms. These are area’s the team would like to improve.
Putting a dome on the existing stadium just isn’t feasible from an architecture or engineering standpoint but a brand new domed facility is. Scheiner talked Tuesday night about the 10-year project that Cowboys Stadium was and he will definitely be charged with a big picture view of the home of the Browns.
With all of the deficiencies that Browns Stadium possesses, it wouldn’t be too far fetched to believe that building a brand new state of the art domed venue would make more sense than to redo the existing stadium.
The Atlanta Falcons are already working feverishly to replace the Georgia Dome which is only 21 years old. That alone hints that looking into a brand new stadium for the Browns is a possibility.