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FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland)

FirstEnergy Stadium
FirstEnergy Stadium in 2013
Former names Cleveland Browns Stadium (1999–2013)
Location 100 Alfred Lerner Way
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Public transit West 3rd Station
Cleveland Lakefront Station
Owner City of Cleveland
Operator Cleveland Stadium Corp
Capacity 73,200 (1999–2014)
67,407 (2014–present)
Surface Kentucky Bluegrass[1]
Broke ground May 15, 1997
Opened September 12, 1999
Construction cost $283 million
($401 million in 2016 dollars[2])[3]
Architect Populous (then HOK Sport)[4]
Robert P. Madison International, Inc.[5]
Ralph Tyler Companies[6]
Project manager The Project Group[7]
Structural engineer Osborn Engineering[8]
Services engineer URS Corporation[9]
General contractor Huber, Hunt & Nichols
Cleveland Browns (NFL) (1999–present)

FirstEnergy Stadium, officially FirstEnergy Stadium, Home of the Cleveland Browns and previously known as Cleveland Browns Stadium, is a multi-purpose stadium in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is the home field of the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League, and serves as a venue for other events such as college and high school football games, soccer games, and concerts. It opened in 1999 and is located at North Coast Harbor, near the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The stadium sits on 31 acres (13 ha) of land between Lake Erie and the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, previously the site of Cleveland Municipal Stadium from 1932–1996. From the stadium's opening until 2014, the seating capacity was listed at 73,200. The first phase of a two-phase renovation project completed between the 2013 and 2014 seasons reduced the seating capacity to 67,407.[10]


  • History 1
  • Facility 2
    • Renovations 2.1
    • Stadium naming 2.2
    • Services 2.3
  • Operations 3
    • Non-Browns events 3.1
      • Soccer games 3.1.1
  • Gallery 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


FirstEnergy Stadium sits on the former site of Cleveland Municipal Stadium, which was the team's home for 49 years. The stadium was built after Browns owner Art Modell relocated to Baltimore and formed the Baltimore Ravens from the personnel of the Browns. As part of the deal with the National Football League to reactivate the Browns, the city of Cleveland tore down Cleveland Municipal Stadium after the 1996 season to make room for the new facility. Debris from the former stadium was submerged in Lake Erie and now serves as an artificial reef.

Ground was broken on May 15, 1997, the stadium opened in July 1999. The first regular-season Browns game at the stadium was played on September 12, 1999, a 43–0 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As of the 2014-15 season, if Super Bowls are included, FirstEnergy Stadium is one of the only two current NFL venues that has yet to host a playoff game, along with Levi's Stadium. The Detroit Lions have never hosted a playoff game at Ford Field, but the stadium served as the host of Super Bowl XL. In addition, the New York Jets have never hosted a playoff game at MetLife Stadium, while its other tenants, the New York Giants, have once since it opened in 2010; this stadium also served as the host of Super Bowl XLVIII. However, Levi's Stadium is planned to host Super Bowl 50.


Drew Carey preparing for a TV broadcast at the stadium's dedication in September 1999

The stadium was designed by the Sport Division of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK), which is now known as Populous. Indianapolis-based Huber, Hunt & Nichols was the construction manager. The stadium is a concrete and glass structure, using precast concrete and cast in-place for the upper concourse. Natural stone accents were used at the base of the stadium. The construction of the concrete superstructure took more than 6000 truckloads of concrete, or the equivalent of 60,000 cubic yards (46,000 m3), with a weight of approximately 235,000,000 pounds (107,000,000 kg).

The playing surface is a Kentucky Bluegrass irrigated field, with a sand-soil root zone and an underground heating system that involves nine boilers and 40 miles of underground piping. The heating system prevents the field from freezing and extends the growing season of the turf.[1] Although it was designed for football, the playing surface was built large enough to accommodate international soccer matches.

The eastern seating section is the home of the Dawg Pound, a section of 10,644 bleacher seats whose occupants are commonly regarded as some of the most passionate in football. It is similar to the original Dawg Pound in Cleveland Municipal Stadium, although the new iteration contains two levels of bleachers instead of one.


In 2013, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam announced a modernization project[11] for FirstEnergy Stadium. The project includes two phases that will take place during the NFL offseasons in 2014 and 2015. Phase one includes improving the audio system, installing new scoreboards 3 times the size of the original scoreboards and 4th largest in a NFL stadium,[12] and also changing the seating at each end of the field adding more seats to the lower bowl. Phase two will include concession improvements, upgrades to technology connectivity, graphics throughout the stadium, and enhancing the premium suites. Once completed, the stadium's capacity will be just over 68,000.[13] The total cost of the renovations is estimated at $120 million with the city of Cleveland paying $30 million over 15 years and the Browns covering the rest of the cost.[14]

Stadium naming

The city specifically chose not to sell the naming rights to the stadium itself, which is highly unusual for major American stadiums built in recent years. However, it instead sold the naming rights to each of the facility's four entrance gates. Originally, the gates were named for National City Bank, Steris Corp., CoreComm Inc., and the Cleveland Clinic Sports Health.[15] The arrangement was later discontinued, and gates names are now simply intermediate directions where the stadium's gates are located.

In August 2012, Randy Lerner sold the Browns to Knoxville, Tennessee businessman Jimmy Haslam. Before the deal officially closed in October 2012, Haslam announced he would sell the stadium's naming rights. Haslam effectively ruled out his family business, truck stop chain Pilot Flying J, as buying the naming rights, mentioning that he had received offers for the naming rights, and that none of them are based in Tennessee.[16][17] On January 14, 2013, it was reported that the naming rights were sold to FirstEnergy Corporation, the Akron-based electric utility serving most of northeastern Ohio.[18] On January 15, 2013 it was announced Cleveland Browns Stadium would be renamed FirstEnergy Stadium, Home of the Cleveland Browns, with the deal getting official Cleveland City Council approval on February 15, 2013.[19]


The stadium does not have public parking facilities. However, there are several adjacent parking facilities: the Port Authority visitors lot, the West 3rd Street parking lot, and the Great Lakes Science Center parking garage. Additionally, the West 3rd Street station of Cleveland's Waterfront light rail line serves the stadium.


Non-Browns events

The stadium hosts other events. The Ohio Classic college football game was held there in both 2004 and 2005. In September 2006, it hosted the Bowling Green Falcons-Wisconsin Badgers game. In 2007 it began hosting the Patriot Bowl,[20] a season-opening game between Army and Akron. Boston College defeated Kent State in the second Patriot Bowl on August 30, 2008.[21] In 2009, it hosted the Ohio State-Toledo game.[22]

It has hosted numerous high school football games. The stadium has hosted playoff games of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) tournament.[23] In June 2010, the Browns announced that four area powerhouses would play in doubleheader named the High School Football Charity Game. The games were played on August 28, 2010.[24] The stadium also hosted a game between the United States and Venezuela in the run-up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. It also hosted a women's soccer friendly game between the United States and Germany.

Soccer games


Images of FirstEnergy Stadium
Entrance ramp of FirstEnergy Stadium. (now closed) 
Satellite view of the stadium and North Coast Harbor
View from the top row of the stadium. 
View from the top row of the stadium during the National Anthem

See also


  1. ^ a b About the Stadium (accessed July 11, 2010)
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Cleveland Browns Stadium architect, Populous
  5. ^ Cleveland Browns NFL Football Stadium - Robert P. Madison International, Inc.
  6. ^ Ralph Tyler - Cleveland Browns NFL Stadium
  7. ^ PC Sports
  8. ^ Osborn Engineering Co. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
  9. ^ A strong local presence -
  10. ^
  11. ^ Retrieved March 2014 from
  12. ^
  13. ^ Retrieved March 2014 from
  14. ^ Retrieved March 2014 from
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Patriot Bowl. Accessed 2007-06-03.
  21. ^
  22. ^ Accessed 2013-10-15
  23. ^ Tilton, Bill (June 10, 2010). High school football: Mentor will play St. Edward at Browns Stadium The News-Herald Accessed July 11, 2010)
  24. ^ Browns to host Charity Game June 22, 2010 (Accessed July 11, 2010)

External links

  • Official website
  • FirstEnergy Stadium at
Preceded by
Cleveland Stadium
Home of the
Cleveland Browns

1999 – present
Succeeded by
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