The Browns will open online registration this week for their Family Day intrasquad scrimmage at the University of Akron with a lofty goal in mind.
The number to reach is 30,000 — capacity of UA’s InfoCision Stadium.
“I think it would just be awesome if we filled the whole stadium,” Kevin Griffin, the team’s vice president of fan experience and marketing, said Monday night in a phone interview. “Last year, we had about 24-25,000 fans at Family Day. I just think it would be a hallmark to see if Akron can show up, and the surrounding areas, and support the event, get us to that 30,000.”
The Browns are moving Family Day to UA’s campus as FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland undergoes the first phase of a $120 million renovation. The scrimmage is scheduled to run from 11:30 a.m.- 2:10 p.m. Aug. 2.
The event is free to the public, though fans must register online beforehand. Registration for general-admission tickets will open at 10 a.m. Thursday at www.ClevelandBrowns.com, the team announced Monday. Fans may request up to six seats as space permits and are encouraged to direct questions to the Browns’ ticket office at 440-891-5050.
It will be the only training camp practice held away from the team’s headquarters in Berea this summer.
“We’re just really excited to kind of test the idea that we can take the Browns outside of Berea or FirstEnergy Stadium and put on a show and hopefully reach a different audience,” Griffin said. “We know those folks are coming to training camp in Berea and most of them probably have a chance to get to the stadium, but it’s nice for us to get to go to somebody. I think it really shows a level of respect, and I think more importantly, we’re putting our money where our mouth is. We’ve been talking about how important fans are for really over a year. This shows the team actually taking a step, a meaningful step, to go to them.”
A record 27,881 fans attended the first game played in InfoCision Stadium on Sept. 12, 2009, when UA defeated Morgan State 41-0. With the live action of a legitimate scrimmage, the Browns hope to draw an unprecedented crowd.
“[Going to Akron is] changing it up, and I think that should be cool,” Browns Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden said Monday after a video and photo shoot with Unequal protective gear in North Royalton. “We always like doing different things, too. Once you get on a set schedule, it gets a little boring, repetitive, and you want to do something different.
“I think [the scrimmage is] going to be really, really live, and there’s going to be some real football going on. It’s going to be fun. We’re not out to hurt each other, but at the same time, it’s going to be good.”
The Browns are also planning to attract families to UA’s campus with fan-engagement opportunities.
“Think of a really cool, big barbecue and fun,” Griffin said.
From 9:30-11:30 a.m. Aug. 2, the team will set up activities on Vine Street, including a Browns alumni autograph area (from 10-11 a.m.), a zip line, inflatables, face-painting stations and a food court. After the game, Browns players will sign autographs, and select fans will also be given jerseys worn by players.
“It’s a bit more [involved than a regular training camp practice in Berea],” Griffin said. “There’s no doubt about it. We have more space, and the team is scrimmaging. … It’s always exciting when there’s something new in a community. So I think the energy of Akron will certainly help elevate the event.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.