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Report: Browns Sought Funding From City For $1 Billion Stadium Renovation

According to Signal Cleveland, the Browns proposed a 50-50 split with local and state governments for a $1 billion overhaul of the team's current stadium on Lakefront.

Negotiations over the Browns future stadium plans continue to be an evolving situation. 

A week removed from the Browns releasing a statement last week expressing their desire to survey "additional sites" for future stadium, a new report from Signal Cleveland reveals that the team made an initial pitch to split a $1 billion bill to renovate the current stadium along the Lakefront with city and state governments.

The news comes from Nick Castele, who cites two city council members as sources. As Castele writes, at a meeting this past fall the Haslam Sports Group proposed a figure between $500-600 million in funding from state and local government to cover half of the renovation project. The other half of the estimated $1-1.2 billion project would be covered by the ownership group itself.

This latest update comes on the heels of Ken Prendergast of the NEOTrans Blog reporting that Browns' owners, Jimmy and Dee Haslam were nearing an agreement to purchase 176-acres of land in Brook Park about 1,000-feet from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. While there was no firm evidence that the plot of land is definitely going to be used for building a new stadium, the aforementioned statement from the team hours later seemed to suggest it's at least a possibility.  

"We've been clear on how complex future stadium planning can be. One certainty is our commitment to greatly improving our fan experience while also creating a transformative and lasting impact to benefit all of Northeast Ohio. We understand the magnitude of opportunity with a stadium project intent on driving more large-scale events to our region and are methodically looking at every possibility. We appreciate the collaborative process with the City of Cleveland and leadership of Mayor Bibb in analyzing the landbridge and renovating the current stadium. At the same time, as part of or comprehensive planning efforts, we are also studying other potential stadium options in Northeast Ohio at various additional sites. There is still plenty of work to do and diligence to process before a long term solution is determined and will share further updates at the appropriate time."

Castele's article tells of the latest twist in the Browns future stadium saga, which at its root centers around whether or not to modernize the current stadium or start from scratch and build a new facility for the team. The city, in its own statement last week, continued to reiterate last week that its top priority is to keep the beloved Browns in downtown Cleveland but that's easier said than done when tax payer dollars are in play.

As Castele noted, the city, along with Cuyahoga County helped cover half of the $140 million revamp of Rockert Mortgage Fieldhouse six years ago. Those two parties, along with the state took on two-thirds of a $202.5 million bill for the ongoing Progressive Field renovation. The Browns Stadium project, however, would be the most costly Cleveland sports facility overhaul in recent history.

The $1 billion price tag for a renovated Cleveland Browns Stadium is about half the going rate of what it costs to build a new facility. The Tennessee Titans are working on a new stadium proposal of their own, which is estimated to cost over $2 billion, with no announcement of how much public funding will go towards the project. Similarly, The Buffalo Bills new stadium, which is already underway, expected to cost upwards of $1.5 billion. Local taxpayers are footing about $850 million in that deal.