Browns President Alec Scheiner unveiled a plan today to enhance the game-day experience at FirstEnergy Stadium beginning this year.
Scheiner said helping fans enter the stadium faster is one of the organization’s main goals, so 20 new turnstiles and 44 new security screening chutes have been installed. The Browns estimate those improvements will allow an additional 4,000 fans to enter the stadium every 15 minutes.
Scheiner also believes a new NFL security policy requiring fans to use transparent bags will help stadium ingress. For more information about the policy, visit www.nfl.com/allclear.
The Browns will mail clear bags featuring their helmet logo to season-ticket holders before the start of the regular season, Scheiner said. There will be express lanes in certain areas for people who don’t bring bags, Scheiner said.
“The fans have talked to us,” Scheiner said during today's news conference. "They’ve been pretty clear that when they get to the stadium, it takes too long to get into the stadium. So we’re going to fix that.”
The Browns’ focus on improved stadium ingress will start with their preseason opener Aug. 8 against the St. Louis Rams. Scheiner said many of the other fan-experience initiatives won’t be rolled out until the regular-season opener Sept. 8 against the Miami Dolphins.
Scheiner said there will also be improved cell phone service at the stadium. He said a new DAS (Distributed Antenna System) tower from Verizon will be added and the AT&T tower will be upgraded. Scheiner said those towers will aid the service of other cell providers, too.
“We think this will make a big difference for people getting on their phone, getting text messages, getting phone calls, surfing the Internet,” Scheiner said. “Once again, we’ll keep looking at this, and if we need more technology in the stadium, then in the near future, we’ll keep investing in more technology.”
Scheiner said the Browns don’t know whether they’ll add Wi-Fi service to the stadium because the hope is that enhanced cell service will solve the problem of limited web access on mobile devices.
“DAS and Wi-Fi can play off each other, and we’ll see how much success we have with the cell towers,” Scheiner said. “If we need to add more technology, we will.
“If you’re a consumer or fan, you really just care about being able to get on your mobile device, and that’s what we’ll trying to tackle. I think sometimes people confuse the two issues. Really all you care about as a fan is can I use my phone or can I use my iPad. We’ll see if we get there this year. We’ll test it out throughout the year, and if not, we’ll look at different technologies.”
Scheiner said pregame player introductions will be much different this year and will feature pyrotechnics and a new video on the scoreboard.
“We’ve talked to our coaches, we’ve talked to our players, it’ll look a lot different, our pregame introductions,” Scheiner said. “We hope that pregame is good enough that people are not going to want to miss it.
“I think it’s very important for your players and your team. They know you’re committed and then they get revved up and the fans get revved up, and it kind of feeds on itself.”
Scheiner said the Browns have hired CSC to head their security operations.
“We’ve hired CSC, which we think will help [with safety at the stadium],” Scheiner said. “We also know that we kind of want to harness the energy of our fans, and so you think of different stadiums around the league where the fans are really passionate, but it’s a safe environment, and that’s what we’d like to replicate. I think we’ve got a good atmosphere for football games.”
The Browns will use a disc jockey on the field before games and a separate one in a booth during games, Scheiner said. The Browns will also use a drum line, Scheiner said.
Scheiner said the Browns have upgraded their team shop at the stadium and have added several kiosks or mini-stores throughout the concourse.