The Cleveland Browns announced yesterday that the venue that they play would now be known as First Energy Field.
Owner Jimmy Haslam also discussed uniform changes, cheerleaders, and the surface of the field during the press conference announcing the naming rights to the building formerly known as Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Again, who cares?
While some of these things are nice and add to the ambiance of the game experience, in the end they don’t matter.
All of those things are either about money or marketing. Let us remind you again, the best marketing plan in Cleveland, Ohio when it comes to sports is…WINNING!
Let’s hope Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner understand that, because if they do, the Browns will be the talk of the town, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Want proof? They pretty much are the subject of sports talk every day any way, and they’ve made one playoff appearance in 14 years. Imagine if they were a Super Bowl contender? Fans would be lining up at the stadium every day just to look at the edifice.
You couldn’t go anywhere in the area without bumping into someone wearing a Browns jersey or having someone barking at you. It would be that crazy.
For all of the shock and horror that would come with a change in the uniforms and/or helmet, if the Browns came out with chartreuse jerseys, ruby-red cleats, and a navy blue helmet and went 14-2 and won the Super Bowl, not one person would care.
The uniform change is all about money. It will give Haslam the right to make up for the billion dollars he spent to buy the franchise in merchandising. Many people who have Cleveland Browns’ paraphernalia will rush out to store to buy jerseys in the new style.
The uniforms have nothing to do with the performance on the field. That’s why it was a joke this season when fans complained about wearing white uniforms at home all the time. Heck, it wasn’t an issue in the 1960’s when the Browns were a perennial contender.
The only time we saw the brown shirts was when the team played in Dallas, St. Louis, and Los Angeles, because the Cowboys, Cardinals, and Rams also wore white at home.
As for going to field turf, which should be done for many reasons, but the end result will be added revenue for the Browns and Haslam.
The playing field at First Energy Stadium is a complete joke considering there are maybe 14 or 15 games played there every year. The severe weather conditions are a factor in late fall or early winter, but the grass looks chopped up even in September games.
Going to field turf would be beneficial to the primary tenant, because it would help speed players. However, it would also allow more games to be played at the stadium.
You could have more college games, some high-profile high school games, including state playoffs and at some point, even state title games with an artificial playing surface.
It would also make the stadium a site for concerts too, without the fear of damaging the playing surface.
Changes like these are fine, but they are like putting lipstick on a pig. None of these things will matter if the football team doesn’t win.
Here’s hoping the Haslam and Banner understand that.