The Browns unveiled their plans today for a two-year, $120 million renovation project designed to modernize FirstEnergy Stadium.
Browns CEO Joe Banner said the organization will present the proposal to the Cleveland City Planning Commission Thursday. It will also meet with Mayor Frank Jackson and city council to discuss the plans and funding for them.
Banner declined to reveal how the enhancements would be paid for, but he said, “the team will make a significant investment.” The NFL approved $62.5 million in funding for stadium improvements in October when the owners met in Washington.
The renovation would begin in January, Banner said, and it would be done in two phases during the next two offseasons.
During the first year of the proposed project, the Browns would install two new video boards nearly triple the size of the scoreboards currently in each end zone. The plan also calls for LED video boards throughout the stadium, which would feature stats, scores and information, and installation of an entirely new audio system.
The renovations would also decrease the upper bowl’s seating capacity and increase the lower bowl’s seating capacity while improving sightlines. The stadium seats about 71,000, excluding standing-room only, and that number would drop to about 68,000 upon completion of the project, Banner said. The Dawg Pound seats in the lower bowel would not be changed, Banner said.
Also in 2014, two new escalators would be installed in both the north and south end zones to ensure the most fluid, convenient movement in and between stadium levels. At the end of the proposed project, there would be 12 escalators providing access to stadium levels.
During the second phase in 2015, the Browns are hoping to improve general-admission concession areas. Updates would be done to premium areas, including upgrading club seats and suites. Graphics honoring the Browns’ history and current players would be fashioned throughout the stadium and its concourses. The installation of WiFi would be considered, President Alec Scheiner said.
The Browns have no plans to put a roof on the stadium. Banner said the organization evaluated the option, determined it would be a nine-figure investment and didn’t believe it made sense. The playing surface will remain a grass field, Banner said.
The Browns internally discussed the possibility of building a whole new stadium, but opted to improve the existing one, Banner said.