Browns end agreement with FirstEnergy, change stadium name


CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns ended their stadium naming rights partnership with FirstEnergy Corp. after 10 years, and will return to their lakefront stadium being called Cleveland Browns Stadium.

The sides announced the mutual agreement on Thursday.

Terms and conditions were not disclosed.

The original deal with FirstEnergy was worth $107 million and ran through the 2028 season, when the Browns’ lease with the city of Cleveland expires.

FirstEnergy’s partnership with the NFL franchise came under scrutiny after the utility company admitted to paying bribes to Ohio lawmakers.

There had been a push by some city and state officials for the Browns to sever ties.

“We’ve had a great association with FirstEnergy for more than two decades, and we appreciate this partnership and what it has created for our team and the broader northeast Ohio community,” said Dave Jenkins, COO of Haslam Sports Group founded by Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam. “We reached this amicable agreement that is consistent with the productive relationship we have always enjoyed, and we wish FirstEnergy success with their future initiatives.”

The Browns plan to re-open bidding for their stadium’s name.

John Somerhalder, FirstEnergy interim president, said the change was in part due to a shift in the company’s priorities.

“Like the rest of northern Ohio, we remain passionate Browns fans and will cheer them on in upcoming seasons,” Somerhalder said. “We also look forward to maintaining our deep relationships with civic, arts and other organizations to bring good energy to our communities.”

The Haslams have publicly offered their commitment to renovating the 67,000-seat stadium, which was built in the same area as Cleveland Municipal Stadium and opened in 1999 when the Browns returned to the league as an expansion team.

The Haslams funded the majority of a $125 million upgrade to the stadium in 2014-15.

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