CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The project as been in the works since January and today the Cleveland Browns will unveil what they plan to do to FirstEnergy Stadium.
Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, CEO Joe Banner and president Alec Scheiner will be on hand for the announcement which is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. at the stadium.
A “slight reduction” in seating capacity is included in the plan according to a source with direct knowledge of the team’s plans. FirstEnergy Stadium currently seats over 72,000.
“It’s going to feel like an entirely new and improved fan experience,” the source said.
The biggest change to the seating bowl will take place in both end zones – including dawg pound. The top rows of seating in the second deck will be eliminated to make way for new video boards.
The change will improve sight lines to the new video boards which will “provide a huge impact for the rest of the fans,” the source said.
The Browns will add seats closer to the field and hope to add escalators to improve flow to and from the upper levels.
The field will remain grass.
On October 8, the NFL approved a $62.5 million low interest loan for “technology upgrades” at the NFL owners meetings which would be used to help pay for new video boards, sound system and possibly a WiFi system.
The Browns hired Los Angeles-based architecture firm Gensler to design the renovation of FirstEnergy Stadium and New York-based Turner Construction Co. as the general contractor in July for the 2-year project slated to begin in January.
FirstEnergy Stadium cost approximately $283 million to build – not including financing costs. The NFL kicked in approximately $71 million for the project while the state, county and city picked up the remainder of the tab.
The Browns’ leadership is no stranger to stadium projects.
Banner spearheaded the effort in Philadelphia to get Lincoln Financial Field built while team president Alec Scheiner worked on the AT&T Stadium project for the Dallas Cowboys which took nearly a decade to complete.
In January, the Browns sold naming rights for the stadium to Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. for $102 million over 17 years and the team keeps 100 percent of that revenue under terms of the lease with the city of Cleveland, which runs through 2028.
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