The Cleveland Browns disputed a report alleging their plans to build a new stadium when their FirstEnergy Stadium lease expires in 2028.
According to Ken Prendergast of NEOtrans, Haslam Sports Group wants a new stadium with a retractable roof or dome. They have identified two potential spots for a venue that would potentially cost more than $1 billion.
However, the team issued a statement Monday saying that revamping FirstEnergy Stadium remains their top priority as they conduct a study expected to conclude next year.
“Contrary to recent speculation, a recent feasibility study we launched does not contemplate a new stadium or showcase new stadium sites,” the statement said. “A significant stadium renovation at our current site is the premise of the study as well as a focus on how to provide accessibility to the lakefront, drive density and create 365-destination major development opportunities that would include new public parks, retail, office, experiential and residential spaces.”
Browns fans are skeptical that the Haslams are merely trying to buy time as they indeed look into building a new stadium down the road.
But not everyone is attached to FirstEnergy Stadium, built for Cleveland’s 1999 return to the NFL.
Another fan likes the idea of adding a retractable dome to their current location.
It wouldn’t be the first time someone from the NFL was coy about developing a new stadium. The Rams kept their planned move from St. Louis to Los Angeles secret for a year to protect ticket 2014 sales, and commissioner Roger Goodell was aware of this process before claiming otherwise at his annual media conference.
The Browns said they have just started their study, so their timetable leaves them a while to conclude that a stadium is the best path forward after all.