FirstEnergy Stadium reverts to Cleveland Browns Stadium
FirstEnergy and the Cleveland Browns announced Thursday the NFL team’s home stadium will no longer bear the name of the energy company embroiled in a bribery scandal.
The pair did not disclose the terms and conditions of the agreement but stated the decision was mutual and effective immediately, cutting short a 17-year, $107 million deal made in 2013.
The decision comes a month after a jury convicted Ohio's former House Speaker Larry Householder in a public corruption scheme fueled by millions of dollars in bribes from FirstEnergy that flowed through a dark money group.
When asked if that scandal or local political pressure played a role in striking their name from the stadium, FirstEnergy spokesperson Jennifer Young did not comment.
"Our decision to remove the name was based on FirstEnergy’s evolving corporate priorities," Young said.
Last May, Cleveland City Councilmember Brian Kazy led the charge in a resolution later passed by council to encourage the Browns to remove FirstEnergy's name from the stadium.
Following Householder's conviction, some members doubled down. During a March council meeting, Councilmember Mike Polensek said there was a "cloud cast over this city" so long as the name remained.
On Thursday, City Council celebrated the news.
“Clevelanders own the stadium, and it’s only fitting to call it by its name that we can be proud of,” Kazy told Ideastream.
The Browns could not be reached at the time of publication, but Chief Operating Officer Dave Jenkins said in a written statement that the team "wish[es] FirstEnergy success with their future initiatives."
The stadium will return to its former name, Cleveland Browns Stadium.