Renovating the Culture – Stadium’s Facelift to Help the Team’s Image
It has been refreshing to hear about the shot in the arm the front office of the Cleveland Browns is attempting to give the franchise, a la beginning a winning culture. This began with signing key players (i.e. Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner) who have been successful in the league, as well as bright personnel who know what it takes to win games (Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine). From an on-the-field product, that sounds excellent – hopefully the rookie class can fall into line with these guys and expect victories consistently.
However, the regular losing has taken a toll on the fan base – especially those who watch the Browns in person. Wins have been few and far between; no matter if the orange and brown are on the road or in the friendly confines of First Energy Stadium. While at away
venues, there’s not a great deal the team can do (outside of grabbing an early lead) to gain an advantage over the crowd. However, the opposite is the case at home, and those in charge believe that promoting a loud and positive stadium will improve the Browns’ chances for success.
Larger Video Board:
Per Team President Alec Scheiner, First Energy Stadium will accommodate the fourth largest video board in the league, beginning this fall. I have been to Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium (one of the three biggest boards) and that screen is rather impressive. I would assume that First Energy’s will also be excellent, which should be comforting for those rooting for the Browns. The vociferous, and more importantly intimidating, sound could hopefully force opponents to burn timeouts or cause confusion in the offensive huddle. Should leads mount for the home squad, expect this feature to be utilized
frequently to further pump up the home crowd.
It’s been well established that the team took out some seats from upper levels and moved them closer to the playing surface. Doing so ought to help the Browns in two ways; those occupying the seats should be happier with an improved view of the game, and the proximity of those fans may improve distractions for visitors. I anticipate the updating of “pump up music” will further induce guests to participate in getting into the action. The 1980s pump-up jams are gone (one thing the previous owner never understood, getting with the times), and now supporters – especially young ones – can recognize and have a
connection with the sounds of the stadium.
Conclusion: I cannot wait until the third preseason contest, where I can have the luxury of attending my first Browns game of the 2014 campaign. I applaud Jimmy Haslam, Alec Scheiner, and even Joe Banner for updating the stadium (which desperately needed to be improved). Even in the exhibition season, the difference in the acoustics and
presentation of contests will be noticeable. Again, it all comes down to performance – but getting an edge in a league where margins are extremely small could prove huge.