Sports team relocations absolutely stink.
Occasionally, those teams move because there’s just not enough support and a move makes sense.
But more often than not, teams move because billionaire owners are able to squeeze more money out of the public in another city than they could in their current city. Sounds familiar, Oakland A’s fans?
Every fan base thinks it couldn’t possibly happen to their team, and then it does.
Enter the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns have been in Cleveland since they were founded by Paul Brown in 1946. Despite the Guardians being there longer, the Browns, for all their ineptitude, are undoubtedly Cleveland’s team.
That was, until 1996. That’s when longtime owner Art Modell, after a dispute with the city over a stadium to replace Cleveland Municipal Stadium, picked up his team and moved it to Baltimore. Thus the Baltimore Ravens were born.
In 1999, the Browns were reborn via an expansion draft and Cleveland Browns Stadium, which is owned by the city, was opened.
The Browns have played at the same stadium for the nearly 25 years since. But the team’s lease of the stadium ends in 2028 and, according to a report by Kaitlin Durbin of Cleveland.com, owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam are seeking a $1 billion, publicly funded domed stadium.
The Brown then denied that report and claimed they were looking at renovating their current stadium.
There’s just one problem.
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb says the city isn’t paying for it.
“I’m no longer going to risk general new fund dollars for maintenance of a privately owned football franchise,” Cleveland mayor Justin Bibb said Wednesday in his State of the City address. “So we’ve got to be creative.”
Forbes puts Jimmy and Dee Haslam’s net worth at $4.8 billion. So it’s easy to understand Bibb’s point of view. But let’s hope for Browns fans’ sake that is doesn’t lead to the team leaving yet again.