The news vortex of Twitter is abuzz on Monday stating that the Browns will be handing naming rights over to FirstEnergy, the diversified energy company headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Several outlets are bantering about the likelihood of said scenario while trolling for feedback — one of the more legitimate being WEWS’ Kristin Volk.
Nothing confirmed, but rumor has it that Browns struck a deal with First Energy for naming rights of the stadium. Thoughts?
— Kristin Volk (@Kristin_Volk) January 14, 2013
Following the completion of the transaction which transferred majority ownership of the Cleveland Browns to Jimmy Haslam III, naming rights to the stadium were one of the first items which many in Cleveland expected to be changed. The stadium had been dubbed “Cleveland Browns Stadium” since its erection prior to the 1999 season, but Haslam — the former CEO of a billion-dollar truck stop business — notoriously sees the stadium as additional means to market the team.
WEWS reports that the Wilson Football plant in Ada, Ohio has already printed and shipped 60 balls with the FirstEnergy mark on them. If the rumor is proved true, what the stadium’s official name will be remains to be seen as “FirstEnergy Stadium” is presently home to the Reading Fighting Phils, the Eastern League affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. This, in addition to the stadium that houses the University of Akron soccer programs. “FirstEnergy Field” appears to have some traction.
In 2008, Progressive Insurance (headquartered in Mayfield, Ohio) purchased the naming rights to the ballpark which houses the Cleveland Indians, costing the publicly traded firm roughly $58 million for 16 years of rights. Two months prior, Progressive laid of 340 employees. This past November, FirstEnergy — having eliminated 200 positions in October — announced that it expects to cut up to 400 jobs by 2016 citing “struggles to stay profitable in a lackluster economy,” one which has led to continued low demand and low power prices. As of 2010, First Energy reportedly employed 10,000 individuals and provided energy sources to 4.5 million customers.
Update: The Plain Dealer has confimed reports that FirstEnergy has purchased naming rights to the stadium.
[Related: Kelly, Chudzinski, & Plan B….Was There One?]