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Browns Lose Naming Rights Deal with FirstEnergy



Cleveland Browns FirstEnergy Stadium

The Cleveland Browns have lost their stadium naming-rights sponsor, as the team announced on Thursday that they and FirstEnergy had reached an agreement to terminate their deal.

The Browns and the Akron, Ohio-based electric utility company had agreed to a naming rights deal that was scheduled to run from 2013 to 2029.

A 2020 scandal involving FirstEnergy paying a $60 million bribe in exchange for a government bailout of its nuclear power operations turned public tide against the electricity generator. Last June, Cleveland City Council passed a resolution urging FirstEnergy to relinquish its naming rights.

The terms of the separation were not announced. The deal had been set to pay the Browns $6 million annually. The Browns said the stadium will revert to the name that it carried from its opening in 1999 to 2013: Cleveland Browns Stadium.

 “We’ve had a great association with FirstEnergy for more than two decades, and we appreciate this partnership and what it has created for our team and the broader northeast Ohio community,” Dave Jenkins, Haslam Sports Group COO said. “We reached this amicable agreement that is consistent with the productive relationship we have always enjoyed, and we wish FirstEnergy success with their future initiatives.”

The name change is the third among AFC North teams in the last two seasons. The Pittsburgh Steelers replaced Heinz with Acrisure as the naming rights sponsor for their stadium in 2022, while the Cincinnati Bengals added naming rights to their stadium for the first time, re-naming Paul Brown Stadium as Paycor Stadium.

The Baltimore Ravens get $6 million per year on a deal that runs through 2027 for the rights to M&T Bank Stadium. The Steelers are getting $10 million annually through 2036 from Acrisure. The terms of the Bengals deal with Paycor have not yet been reported.