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Pics: First look at the new FirstEnergy Stadium (Updated)

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his staff unveiled, on Wednesday, their plans for an upgraded version of FirstEnergy Stadium, including improved Jumbotrons at both ends of the stadium as well as a substantial modernization to the sound system and seating. The project will cost roughly $120 million.

The scoreboards will, when installed, nearly triple the size of the current boards. The new boards would be more ingrained in the stadium and closer to fans. Surrounding the scoreboards would be what the team has dubbed “unique fan-engagement areas.” Throughout the stadium, the plan also calls for LED video boards, which would feature stats, scores and information, and installation of an entirely new audio system, said to deliver crisper, clearer audio everywhere in the facility. From a seating standpoint, the Browns will aim to create more seating in the lower bowl, enhancing the view and fan experience for as many fans as possible. The additional lower-bowl seats would further the intimate “close-to-the-field action” that fans love as they watch the game.

The second portion of the upgrades, set to take place in 2015, revolve around concession access and technology. In 2015, the Browns would create new dramatic graphics throughout the stadium, honoring current and former Browns. They will also strive to improve general-admission concession areas, with what they consider to be “revamped and unique offerings, modernize premium areas, and create new hospitality and fan-engagement opportunities.” For those wondering about their cell phones and wifi access, the team states that improving digital connectivity with fans is very important. There will be an emphasis on that throughout this entire modernization.

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“We have consistently communicated that two of the primary areas of focus for us are creating a winning team and creating the best fan experience in the NFL,” said Haslam. ““We have engaged our fans, asked for their thoughts, and responded to their ideas and concerns. This modernization plan is a result of our desire to invest in creating the best environment for them and our players.”

[Related: NFL News: Leon McFadden’s snap count to increase]

  • maxfnmloans

    “Currently, we have the lowest percentage of seating in the lower bowl than any stadium in the country,” Banner said. “. . . Some of the upper-bowl seats will become lower-bowl seats.”

    so…they’re changing the definition of “lower bowl” to charge more money for worse seats?

  • Kevin Huyghe

    No doubt the new configuration looks awesome, I am very concerned with eliminating a net 3,000 seats and what that will do to my season ticket prices. Also curious on how one can get their hands on the PSLs for some of these new 3000 lower bowl seats, I am looking to change 2 seats into 4 at some point.

  • Kevin Huyghe

    Yeah I am curious on what constitutes “Lower bowl”… is that the 300 sections on the ends? It seems that those 300 sections are where you are going to lose a lot of seats to make room for the scoreboards, so where do you add seats in the “lower bowl”? Hard to tell by the initial pictures.

  • Corey

    Needless to say, $120M for this is underwhelming.

  • Guest

    Browns did away with PSL’s when Haslam bought the team.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    3,000 eliminated shouldn’t affect season ticket prices much. If those were an average of $50/seat that’s $1.5M a season, which spread out over the other 65K seats should be about $23/seat per season, or about $2+ game per seat.

  • AkronPoppy

    Until the front row endzone seats are field level, meaning the players don’t have to jump to interact with the fans, I’m not impressed.

  • RGB

    Where is the dome?

  • woofersus

    If you look at all the before/after renders on the site you can see at least part of what they are doing. For starters, the last of the before/after pictures showing the exterior and soon-to-be Giant Eagle gate, you can see that in addition to taking the tops off of the upper ends, they are expanding them horizontally to minimize the loss of seats. Next, if you look at the second picture you can see they are extending the upper portion of the lower bowl even further, making the “corner gap” much more narrow. In the other corner it looks like the space may be closed entirely, but at the least there are some areas previously devoid of seats that are clearly filled in. The pictures of the west end aren’t matched in angle as well, so it’s tougher to see, but it’s basically more of the same.

  • woofersus

    I don’t know if that’s been dropped entirely or not, but it’s probably a longer term project either way.

  • woofersus

    A welcome and much-needed facelift. Also, kudos to whoever did the renders. Excellent job. Anybody else notice that we’re playing the Steelers in them?

  • MrCleaveland

    Me like. The funky non-rectangular video boards are great!

    Way to go, Jimmy. We ought to all can our cynicism for a bit and give credit where credit is due. Haslam is making an effort, and I appreciate it.

  • RGB

    Just as long as he keeps the wiener dog races.

  • mgbode

    go root for Detroit! 😉

  • Kevin Huyghe

    Well sure, that’s what it technically comes out to, but then they take the “demand increase” and jack up the prices is what I am saying.

  • Kevin Huyghe

    Not exactly true. They wanted to increase the number of season tickets so they basically gave a one-time opportunity to get season tickets without actually getting a PSL, and this was only offered to people who already have a PSL. I still own my PSLs as do anyone who had one, and I can still sell it to anybody I want to. Basically the whole thing last year got blown out of proportion.

  • Sam

    and your 120 million dollar plan is…?

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I have always thought that they should recreate the little “hill” from old Municipal where the players could run up into the Dawg pound. Thought that was unique and would have been a nice tribute to the old stadium.

  • How’s it being paid for?

    That’s really the only relevant question. If Haslam is looking for taxpayer money then this can only be viewed as phase one in the usual ‘NFL Owner Extorts Rust Belt City for Stadium’ gambit.

    Per Craig, it seems the funding details as vague. Would anyone here announce a nine figure project without having funding? No probably not. It really points up what an effective extortion racket this is. “It’d be a shame for that $300M stadium you own to be vacant for the other 350 days of the year. When’s the lease up again? 2029? Right. Modell had a lease too. So anyway,, here’s the beautiful project we’ve created for ourselves. You can avoid trying to find another tenant by shelling out another $100M.” “PS, how about that naming rights deal, huh? Sweet deal for us, doncha think?”

  • mgbode

    pot’s being legalized around the country, so Haslam is merely putting his foot in the door for the taxes there since noone has staked a claim yet.

    or, he’s offering some great rebates to the county’s vehicles at all Pilot-Flying J truck stops.

  • MrCleaveland

    BD, that’s a nice thought. One thing that’s a bit disappointing about the new Browns home is that once you get inside, there is no visual connection at all to the old place.

    And face it, as much as we all complained about that place, it was iconic in its own Cleveland way, and down deep we all loved that dump.

    I wish the architects of the new place would have included a few little visual tributes to Muni. Like the arches that capped the ends of the left and right field grandstands. Or maybe that diagonal T pattern that ran around the roof of the upper deck. Just something to bridge the old and new.

    As it is now, once I cross the West 3rd St. bridge, I don’t get any sense of history or personal memories.

  • CB Everett

    The screens are nice, but 2 thoughts: 1. How can we do Thunderdome without the roof? Was really hoping for a retractable. 2. What are “unique fan engagement areas”? Guys in gimp outfits congregating? Sounds unnecessarily vague and weird.

  • RGB

    $120 million. Meh. That’s chump change for the vast Pilot empire.
    A tenth of a vender discount here, a decreased volume discount there…

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I’m young enough that I didn’t have a ton of memories at the old place, but it was certainly a big piece of the history of the city and the Browns. Something should have (should?) be done. The “hill” would be cheap, easy, and instantly recognizable. Maybe there are some player safety concerns, but other than that I don’t see why it couldn’t happen.

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    Bottle-gate
    Helmet-gate
    Concussion-gate
    Debacle-gate
    and now Giant Eagle Gate?

    Why are the Browns always mired in scandal!?!?