New owner. New coach. New everything. Why shouldn’t the Browns get a new stadium name as well? If they change their uniform color, though, then we have a problem. From John Funk of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
FirstEnergy Corp., one of the nation’s largest electric companies, is talking to new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam about paying for the right to give its name to Cleveland Browns Stadium, several sources said. FirstEnergy won’t confirm it, but the buzz has been building, and an announcement is expected as early as Tuesday. The Browns declined to comment. The Akron-based company issued a press release Monday saying, essentially, that it isn’t talking. “FirstEnergy has been a proud supporter of civic, arts and professional sports organizations throughout the company’s service area. . . . In Ohio, we’ve long championed Cleveland teams with prominent sponsorships at Browns Stadium, Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena,” the statement reads. “While we remain committed to partnering with local community leaders and businesses to make our communities attractive places to live and work, we have no new announcements regarding any major sponsorships at this time.” There already is a FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pa., but that should not matter to the NFL because it’s a minor-league baseball stadium. FirstEnergy serves more than 6 million customers from Chicago to the East Coast. Whatever FirstEnergy is paying for the naming rights, by law the company cannot pass that cost on to its customers by increasing rates. FirstEnergy’s delivery rates are determined by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and reflect what it is spending on wires, transformers and the like, not what it spends on advertising or lobbying. The price of the electricity itself is determined by auctions and then reviewed by the state. One of the top deals among stadiums with naming rights is MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and Jets, a 25-year deal worth $400 million.