May 8, 2024 - Sports

Browns fans have mixed reaction to stadium drama

Fans take a selfie outside of Browns Stadium before a game.

Home is where the Dawg Pound is. Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

It seems everyone, from city leaders to journalists, has weighed in on the Cleveland Browns' stadium situation — but what do fans think?

Why it matters: Dawg Pound diehards still recall the devastation when the Browns left for Baltimore in the mid-1990s.

  • This time, the Browns could build a domed stadium 20 minutes away in Brook Park.

Catch-up quick: Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam are deciding between building a dome in Brook Park, which would cost more than $2 billion, versus a $1.2 billion renovation to Cleveland Browns Stadium, which was built in 1999.

  • The Haslams are reportedly seeking 50% public funding for either project.

The latest: On Monday, Cleveland City Council approved an ordinance instructing Mayor Justin Bibb's administration to enforce the "Art Modell Law."

  • The law would, in theory, require Browns ownership to gain city approval to move the team outside of downtown, or give the city and its residents a chance to buy the team.

Reality check: The law has never been challenged in court, and there are questions as to whether it is constitutional.

What they're saying: Patti-Jo Burtnett, president of the Strongsville Browns Backers, tells Axios a stadium in Brook Park would be great for the region.

  • "If we build a modern domed stadium, support it with a new Rapid stop, offer a campus with more than just a stadium, and can use the current stadium site for lake, beach, boardwalk access to create a better downtown/lake experience, everyone wins," she says.

The other side: "The stadium should stay downtown," says season ticket holder Fran Belkin.

  • "As for the argument that [a dome] would host so many concerts and events, how many acts are big enough to play a stadium? You can count them on one hand."

What's next: The team's lease on Browns Stadium expires at the end of 2028.

  • The Haslams haven't given a timetable for when they decide.

🗣️ More fan reaction:

Danny P.: "Please, just move the stadium already."

Michael K.: "The Browns should remain downtown, especially with $800 million at stake. Though surely a dome could be added to the downtown stadium for an additional cost and even if up to $800 million, it's still downtown over Brook Park. We are not Buffalo!"

Connie V.: "Browns should stay downtown."

Jack K.: "Go with a dome for the Browns."

Steve M.: "Cleveland Browns, not Brook Park Browns. Cleveland Stadium has been a downtown staple and deserves a renovation."

Jill J: "I'd say a resounding NO to the Haslams' proposal for a domed stadium. I don't want to pay for something that will profit them more than it will profit the areas. Besides, by the time the stadium's paid off, they'll be begging for renovations. They want it? They can pay to build it."

Simon H.: "As long as [the Haslams] pay for it with their own money. It's absolutely unhinged to me that there are considerations of public money being used for these ludicrous amounts of dollars for a private sports franchise."

Carolyn D: "I think the Browns stadium should stay downtown. It's a big part of downtown Cleveland and I can't imagine not seeing it there when driving on the shoreway."

Trevor C.: "Totally in favor of the Brook Park stadium. Let the waterfront be developed to make Cleveland downtown grow even more. It seems ridiculous to have such a large waterfront property be idle for 97% of the year. Everyone would benefit from this."

Edward A.: "Move the stadium off of the lake! Downtown or Brook Park. I don't care as long as it's off the lake."

Craig B.: "Stay downtown. It's too big an integral part of our history."

Danny R.: "All for the move."

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