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Report: Sale of Browns for over $1 billion is complete

Rick Lyle AP

No one knows what a sale to Jimmy Haslam III might mean for the current Browns hierarchy, but it looks like we’ll find out soon enough.

Adam Schefter of ESPN and the NFL Network both report that Haslem has completed his purchase of the team from Randy Lerner. Schefter reports that the total sale price will be $1 billion, with Haslam paying $700 million now for a controlling interest in the team. There will be a second payment of more than $300 million at a later date.

The first rumors of a possible sale broke on July 27th, which means things have moved quite quickly for Haslam and the Browns. Haslam still needs to be approved by the rest of the NFL owners, but that’s not thought to be a major stumbling block since Haslam was already an investor in the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now we’ll wait for confirmation of former Eagles president Joe Banner’s involvement with the new ownership group and some idea of what the ownership change might mean for the regime running the Browns right now. There’s not much chance that General Manager Tom Heckert or coach Pat Shurmur will be going anywhere anytime soon, but team president Mike Holmgren’s future with the team is much less clear.

It has been less than three years since Holmgren joined the franchise in a major shakeup of the franchise. We might be on the brink of another one as the Browns change hands.

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68 Responses to “Report: Sale of Browns for over $1 billion is complete”
  1. pappert says: Aug 2, 2012 12:24 PM

    I am so tired of seeing Bum Qbs Run this Team.. I feel like they have been trying out the same shmoes for 15 years.. I still Remember like 10 years ago watching Ty Detmer Throw 7 picks in one gm.. They still havent been able to win games… They should move to LA out of embarassment

  2. joetoronto says: Aug 2, 2012 12:24 PM

    Wow, a billion dollars for the Browns. That shows you how good a fanbase they have there, off the charts.

    The Bungals would probably sell for a million. :)

  3. vexey says: Aug 2, 2012 12:25 PM

    Hope the new owner is better than the old owner for you Browns fans

  4. crustylovelips says: Aug 2, 2012 12:25 PM

    Finally.. the Lerner regime is gone..

    Dear Randy,

    We’ll thank your dad for bringing the browns back to Cleveland. We’d also like to smack you in the head for having the team handed to you and for you to turn them into perennial losers.. You sir can not get out of town fast enough..

    Signed,
    Cleveland Browns fans.

  5. dtob79 says: Aug 2, 2012 12:26 PM

    Thank God. Make Holmgren take his golden boys Shurmur and McCoy with him.

  6. coonsqualler says: Aug 2, 2012 12:28 PM

    It takes 5 years for “The Plan” to work out. We are in year 3 and look well on our way on paper. PLEASE let’s finish this building block before we tear it down again. The future looks BRIGHT!!

    Just Sayin’…Go Brownies!!!!!!

  7. thraiderskin says: Aug 2, 2012 12:28 PM

    I know this is going to piss off the Brown’s fans, but I honestly didn’t think they would be worth $1 Billion. Hopefully, this will ultimately lead them out of thier funk.

  8. sudz28 says: Aug 2, 2012 12:29 PM

    “Haslam was already an investor in the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

    Let’s face it, the Steelers have owned the Browns LONG before this made it official!

  9. t8ertot says: Aug 2, 2012 12:33 PM

    Can he run the organization into the ground any worse than the current owner? After all, he is a Steeler fan.

  10. cobrala2 says: Aug 2, 2012 12:40 PM

    In all seriousness I am astonished the Browns are worth $1B.

  11. niubears says: Aug 2, 2012 12:40 PM

    Somebody overpaid

  12. braven4evr says: Aug 2, 2012 12:42 PM

    seems like a good move for da browns; but they still play in the toughest division in the nfl!

  13. schlereth says: Aug 2, 2012 12:42 PM

    Now could someone please swoop in and buy the Redskins from Snyder?

  14. audient says: Aug 2, 2012 12:44 PM

    Mike Holmgren’s role essentially was to act in place of Randy Lerner. Holmgren attended owners meetings instead of Lerner. Holmgren stood from a distance and made the kinds of decisions that owners often make.

    With Randy Lerner on his way out, Mike Holmgren’s role has reached a natural conclusion. We won’t know right away how much better Holmgren left the team — but hopefully in a few years, with Lombardi trophy in hand, we Browns fans can look back and say, hey, the Big Show righted the ship so Jimmy Haslam et al could sail it in.

  15. belliott07 says: Aug 2, 2012 12:47 PM

    The LA Browns…sounds fitting.

  16. joemammy says: Aug 2, 2012 12:49 PM

    As long as Jimmy Haslam isn’t a meddler like Jerrah Jones, it’s all good…

  17. kattykathy says: Aug 2, 2012 12:52 PM

    Wow, 1 billion for the Browns. The BROWNS…..the laughable losers of the league!!

    Imagine how much a REAL nfl team will sell for?

    Lerner found a complete sucker.

  18. phillyfreak24 says: Aug 2, 2012 12:53 PM

    Why are the browns worth so much?

  19. gjshihadeh says: Aug 2, 2012 12:57 PM

    At the end of the day, if Holmgren gets cut loose, it won’t be the worst thing that’s happened to the Browns. Haslam and Banner seem to be very successful at their craft, and I trust the Browns are in good hands. Randy Lerner never wanted this team, it was handed to him. Now the Browns have someone who really wants to be an owner in the NFL, and that is a great thing.

  20. rollteal says: Aug 2, 2012 12:58 PM

    How are the Browns worth 1 Billion ?

  21. 4t9er says: Aug 2, 2012 12:58 PM

    I was really surprised by the 1 billion figure but then I remembered that they have the friendliest leasing agreement with the city of Cleveland.

  22. NoHomeTeam says: Aug 2, 2012 12:58 PM

    Can we assume that he had to sell his interest in the Steelers, then?

  23. hedleykow says: Aug 2, 2012 12:58 PM

    One billion dollars for the Browns? I thought concussion liability ruined the value of NFL franchises. What’s up with that?

  24. rsh1023 says: Aug 2, 2012 1:00 PM

    as a long time Browns fan…I hope they use this ownership change to get with the times and update the uniforms once and for all. It’s time to get a logo on the helmet and tweak things a bit.

    EVERY NFL team has updated their uniforms at one point or another…why should the Browns be different? Certainly nothing to cling to history wise…Zero Super Bowls last time I checked

  25. vladdrac69 says: Aug 2, 2012 1:01 PM

    Good job Mike Holmgren. Now get outta hereya….

  26. jimbo75025 says: Aug 2, 2012 1:02 PM

    Good move for Browns fans IMHO. Better to have a guy who is an NFL fan as an owner than someone who is more concerned with his soccer team. Generally fans of the specific sport do better as owners-see Mark Cuban or the Jazz owner a while back-playoff runs every year are surely better than nothing even if they only produce a championship once in a while.

  27. gunndlewittlebaum says: Aug 2, 2012 1:03 PM

    Paying a billion for the Browns is like paying a hundred for a quarter.

  28. turdfurgerson68 says: Aug 2, 2012 1:13 PM

    No one in their right mind would pay a billion dollars and keep the team in a rusty city like Cleveland (sorry terry pluto).

    The LA Browns? Sounds good…just like the Cleveland-LA Rams.

  29. tdk24 says: Aug 2, 2012 1:15 PM

    Wow did he overpay. But that’s the way it goes. Any team that is up for sale, instantly becomes overvalued. It’s not like he has a choice of other teams to buy, you take what you can get, even if it’s the Browns.

  30. jjboogie2011 says: Aug 2, 2012 1:16 PM

    Forbes estimated the average value of NFL teams at $1.04 Billion in 2011. The higest value was the Cowboys at $1.8 Billion. Considering it’s $700 million now and $300 million later and the average value is $1.04 Billion, this seems like a pretty reasonable deal for both sides.

    I understand we’ve been a joke of a team for quite some time, but it’s still an NFL franchise, slightly moving in the right direction, with one of the top 5 fan bases in the league.

    Anyone who’s surprised by this price tag is likely basing it only record and performance on the field – or just doesn’t know the value of these franchises.

  31. joetoronto says: Aug 2, 2012 1:17 PM

    To everyone asking why the Browns are worth so much:

    They sell out no matter what, they could go 0-16 for years in a row, they’d still sell out.

    Not many professional teams in all of sports can say that.

  32. descendency says: Aug 2, 2012 1:17 PM

    Someone is paying a billion dollars… for the Cleveland Browns?

  33. audient says: Aug 2, 2012 1:19 PM

    The Browns are worth a billion because the CBA is favorable, few NFL teams are for sale very often, the NFL is still on its way up profitability-wise, and the leasing deal on the stadium is favorable, and the fans will pack the place if only you put a competitive team on the field.

    Yes, Haslam will be selling his interest in the Steelers, because one person may not own interests in two teams. And no one pays a billion dollars with the intention of losing, so, no, he isn’t a Steelers fan just looking to keep the Browns down. That would be stupid. And if he really just wanted to keep the Browns down, Lerner seemed to be doing that fine on his own.

  34. tomthebombtracy says: Aug 2, 2012 1:22 PM

    I hear Mike Holgrem likes to take a lot of vacation time. He’s about ready to receive a really long one.

    Actually this is bad news for the AFC North tribe. Haslam has the look of a winner and I think things will be different at the newly named Flying J Stadium on the Lake.

    The Steelers took Chuck Noll from his Browns roots and built a dynasty. Haslam could reciprocate from Pittsburgh to Cleveland.

    As a Steelers fan, I really hope the Browns become a power to be reckoned with. The fans deserve it and as much as Pittsburghers crack on Cleveland, it really is a great city.

  35. ballboy48 says: Aug 2, 2012 1:30 PM

    @sudz28, do you understand how long it took for the Steelers to even up the head to head total against Cleveland? Must be a bandwagoner, because you probably also wouldn’t know that the Steelers had 33 losing season from the late 30′s, until the early 70′s!

    People don’t understand how the Browns could be sold for over $1 billion! I’ll tell you how! They have real fans, that actually go to the games, and a community that supports them! It’s scary to think how much they would be worth if they actually won!

  36. cruuuzcontrol says: Aug 2, 2012 1:32 PM

    If the Browns are worth $1B, I really wonder what franchises like the Giants, Patriots, and Redskins would fetch on the open market. Could they cost somewhere in the double-digit billions? That would be mind blowing.

  37. mostlombardisintheleague says: Aug 2, 2012 1:32 PM

    I honestly wish the Browns become a much improved team. High competition in a division makes for great contests and it gets old seeing a team always at the bottom.

  38. pcsheward says: Aug 2, 2012 1:34 PM

    Thoughts from this Browns fan:

    1. Lerner being gone is a good thing. He’s been alright with opening his wallet, but a team just can’t be very successful with such a detached owner.

    2. The idea of Banner running the joint intrigues me. 11 post-seasons for the Iggles during his tenure, that ain’t bad.

    3. Holmgren is probably gone. I’m alright with that, as long as Heckert and Shurmer, et. al., stay.

    4. Now is NOT the time for new ownership to blow the place up. I’ve been enduring the pain of a pathetic team for far too long. This is the first time in more than 20 years I feel palpable optimism among the Browns’ fan base. Sure, it may be unlikely, but imagine if we hit on Weeden, T-Rich, Schwartz, and Gordon. Coupled with a top 10 DEF (don’t believe me, look it up) and I really feel like we could surprise the experts. It would be an absolute shame to totally change course again.

    5. If Banner is part of the group, there is a clear connection with Heckert, Shurmer, and Childress. That said, I’ve heard that Banner was very much in favor of Heckert leaving Philly, and if that’s the case, I’m afraid we are in for total do-over…again.

    Bottom line: Keep Heckert/Shurmer/Childress, see if our rooks pan out this year, don’t make any rash decisions, and give the fans a chance to be excited about something. It’s been too long, and I’m sick of the Factory of Sadness.

    HERE WE GO, BROWNIES, HERE WE GO!!!

  39. bigzant82 says: Aug 2, 2012 1:35 PM

    this great news cant wait long enough too start winning

  40. kleppnasty says: Aug 2, 2012 1:39 PM

    ballboy48

    I think people understand that when the Browns had Jim Brown, they were dominate. But that team is in Baltimore. This team is an expansion team named after the former team.
    The same logic can be said for something like Guns N Roses. Sure they were great in the 80s and early 90s, but the last 15 years has been awful. Just because the name is the same doesn’t mean Axl’s new band has anything to do with the original version.

  41. niko0063 says: Aug 2, 2012 1:40 PM

    Do people honestly think the value of an NFL franchise is sole based on their success? The browns sell out every game, have a cheap stadium lease for 20 more years, have yet to sell naming rights to the stadium, have cheapest concessions/tix in NFL (which will get jacked up)…all = REVENUE STREAMS

  42. wilddeuce03 says: Aug 2, 2012 1:43 PM

    For all of you saying he overpaid, Forbes just listed the Browns as being worth $977 million. And that’s with them sucking since they came back in ’99. We are a loyal fanbase. That figure will only go up once the wins start coming. Seems like a smart business move to me.

  43. Henry says: Aug 2, 2012 1:53 PM

    If the Browns move to L.A., will they join the AFC West division?
    And maybe the Chiefs will switch to the AFC North?
    I’m curious……

  44. takemytalentstosoutheuclid says: Aug 2, 2012 1:59 PM

    It has already been reported that not only will there be a “you can’t move the team” clause in the purchase agreement, but the stadium lease with the city of Cleveland is ironclad. You can imagine after what that d-bag Modell did, that the language in the lease would be fairly specific.

    So, you 5 Los Angeles football fans can just stop now. It ain’t happening.

  45. tombrookshire says: Aug 2, 2012 1:59 PM

    Holy crap! That must be some kind of record. Can you imagine having an extra billion to throw away on a hobby? Guess Haslam has a new favorite team. Holmgren out almost immediately, Banner in. Makes sense since Banner is a proven football exec. while Holmgren is far from it. Keep Banner away from players and media and the Browns will be very successful and profitable. A+ rating.

  46. miniacam says: Aug 2, 2012 2:00 PM

    how are the browns worth 1 billion dollars…easily they are worth that much…forbes put them at a value of 977 million

    Think about it this way,
    Cleveland Browns stadium holds 73,000, lets say they average 65,000 fans each game at about 100 bucks a ticket (the average price in the NFL). Over 8 games that 52 million dollars in revenue throughout the year. Add in the concessions, sales from the team shop, advertisements, and also that 30 billion dollar network deal that the NFL has and you probably make a revenue of five times that amount per year.

    With a smart owner who knows how to run a company, as Haslem has shown by running the Flying J, he can easily make money every year and make the team worth more than his intial investment

  47. jonkoethe says: Aug 2, 2012 2:07 PM

    Somebody should have told Haslam a Steelers fan to save his money.

    The Steelers already own the Browns.

  48. njsteelersfan says: Aug 2, 2012 2:09 PM

    He must of been partying with Michael Irvin doing the bath salt !!! One thinks Belichick’s name should be on the Lombardi Trophy and the other one paid WHAT a billion dollars for the Browns . I can see Goodell drug testing both of them real quick !!!!!!

  49. couldntthinkofaname says: Aug 2, 2012 2:11 PM

    It has already been reported that not only will there be a “you can’t move the team” clause in the purchase agreement, but the stadium lease with the city of Cleveland is ironclad. You can imagine after what that d-bag Modell did, that the language in the lease would be fairly specific.

    So, you 5 Los Angeles football fans can just stop now. It ain’t happening.
    ___________________

    And LA couldn’t be happier. Nobody there wants your Cleveland garbage out there. As usual, though, a useless Cleveland sports fan takes a shot at someone because the Browns suck more d*** than Jenna Jameson.

    Now you five Cleveland Indian fans can go back to ignoring your baseball team.

    DA and Chris Perez are right about Loserville.

  50. mrfrostyj says: Aug 2, 2012 2:14 PM

    To answer the question of why the Browns are worth so much.

    A. look at ratings numbers by city

    B. look at ad revenue by city

    C. look at consecutive sell out records by stadium.

    The Browns will be in top top 10 for all of them in most years. How many other teams with loosing records can you guarantee you will never have to worry about a lack of fan base. The Indianapolis Colts have had a loosing team 1 season out of a decade and can’t give away season tickets right now.

    It also helps how many celebrity fans the team has.

  51. b3atnick says: Aug 2, 2012 2:19 PM

    The Browns will not be moving, it was part of the purchase that he can’t move the team.

  52. covercorner says: Aug 2, 2012 2:20 PM

    Haslam stated that the price of homemade Dirty Brown Towels will be cut in half.

  53. jimbo75025 says: Aug 2, 2012 2:23 PM

    miniacam says:Aug 2, 2012 2:00 PM

    how are the browns worth 1 billion dollars…easily they are worth that much…forbes put them at a value of 977 million

    Think about it this way,
    Cleveland Browns stadium holds 73,000, lets say they average 65,000 fans each game at about 100 bucks a ticket (the average price in the NFL). Over 8 games that 52 million dollars in revenue throughout the year. Add in the concessions, sales from the team shop, advertisements, and also that 30 billion dollar network deal that the NFL has and you probably make a revenue of five times that amount per year.

    With a smart owner who knows how to run a company, as Haslem has shown by running the Flying J, he can easily make money every year and make the team worth more than his intial investment
    ———–

    You forget the players get a substantial amount of the $. Add in coaches, scouts, etc and while I agree Haslem is a good businessman making money back in 1 yr will not happen. Over 10 yrs, then yeah-especially if the Browns actually start winning. Owning an NFL team anymore is more a prestige and appreciation over time thing anyway rather than a matter of earning 5% each year on your investment,

  54. qj1984 says: Aug 2, 2012 2:24 PM

    Its worth what people are willing to pay. He was willing to pay 1 billion so thats the worth.

  55. NoHomeTeam says: Aug 2, 2012 2:29 PM

    takemytalentstosoutheuclid says: “It has already been reported that . . . there [will] be a “you can’t move the team” clause in the purchase . . . So, you 5 Los Angeles football fans can just stop now. It ain’t happening.”

    *****************

    Oh, I get it — it’s funny because you’re implying that there aren’t many football fans in Southern California. Hilarious .

    My strong suspicion is that those people posting “L.A. Browns” comments on this board aren’t actually Southern Californians — they’re just trying to get Clevelanders worked up. I’ll wager they’re actually posting from some other city in the Division. Harmless fun, really.

    Just so there’s some actual input from Southern California: We don’t want the Browns.

    That’s not an insult, either, so don’t go manufacturing outrage about it. If there is a consensus to be had — and I’m not sure there is — I would say that football fans here would want, in order:

    1) Expansion (won’t happen)
    2) Return of the Rams (might happen)
    3) The Raiders (small, but unfortunately vocal minority)
    4) The Los Angeles Leopards (or whatever they would rename the Jaguars)

  56. mrfrostyj says: Aug 2, 2012 2:30 PM

    Most expensive NFL Team = The Dallas Cowboys 1.81 Billion dollars

    Cheapest NFL Team = The Jacksonville Jaguars 725 million dollars

    (Figures from Forbes magazine)

    The Browns are 20th out of 32 NFL teams with an estimated worth of 977 million dollars. If the team becomes successful on the field it is possible they could surpass the net worth of the Cowboys (thats a big if). So Haslam could more than double his money if he plays his cards right considering how much the team is worth without them being a winning team.

  57. southridge23 says: Aug 2, 2012 3:01 PM

    I know these numbers are off the charts for most (all) of us, but considering the sale of the LA Dodgers for double the Browns,in a sport (baseball) whose championships don’t pull half the ratings of a week 3 regular season nfl game, ownership got a heck of a deal…

    New TV money has yet to kick in with revenue increasing each year and a heavily owner-favored CBA, kudos to new ownership, good luck!

  58. sj39 says: Aug 2, 2012 3:02 PM

    NoHomeTeam, don’t hold your breath, you won’t be changing your name anytime soon. pppssstt – the NFL doesn’t want a team in LA, you’re too useful as you are.

  59. mmmpierogi says: Aug 2, 2012 3:17 PM

    tomthebombtracy says: Aug 2, 2012 1:22 PM

    The Steelers took Chuck Noll from his Browns roots and built a dynasty. Haslam could reciprocate from Pittsburgh to Cleveland.

    ****************************************************************

    I’m a Steeler fan, as well, but what “roots” does Haslam have? Chuck Noll was from Cleveland; Haslam isn’t from Pittsburgh or even anywhere else in PA (his family’s from somewhere out in the midwest — Michigan or Wisconsin, and he’s from Tennessee). Haslam’s only connection with Pittsburgh is that he has deep pockets and wanted to cash in. That’s like saying I have roots in Mountain View, CA because I bought a ton of stock in Google and then went around telling everyone how much I love the company.

  60. steve3211 says: Aug 2, 2012 3:18 PM

    latest headlines:
    Cleveland Brown fans besieged by Aston Villa fans desperate to know how they got rid of Lerner.

  61. hawkforlife says: Aug 2, 2012 3:19 PM

    Seriously, a billion? and these fat cats can’t pay income taxes, or inheritance taxes or anything else to help the country. A billion. What’s that make the real franchises worth?

    How long before he want’s the Cleveland taxpayers to cough up $$ for a stadium renovation.

  62. thechronicjoker says: Aug 2, 2012 3:24 PM

    The Browns just turned into the Dolphins. New owners mean new headaches. Just look at Ross, its taken how many years and he still seems clueless.

  63. rocketdogsports says: Aug 2, 2012 3:32 PM

    The Steelers are one of the best run franchises in sport. You can’t take that away from them and i believe that Haslam was an integral part of that management team.

    I have been a fan of this team since 1960 and I just want to live long enough to see the CLEVELAND Browns win a championship.

    I am skeptical about the team staying in Cleveland. Hopeful, but skeptical, with London, Mexico City, Los Angeles all looking like very lucrative markets.

    Let’s see what Haslam has to say over the next few months about keeping the team where it is, spending money on talent and saying no to greener pastures as the NFL goes global over the next five years.

  64. rcali says: Aug 2, 2012 3:39 PM

    Does anybody hear the sound of the prices of Beer, hotdogs, tickets, and parking rising….I do. The fans pay for the sale of team and that’s why it really doesn’t matter if the new owner overpays.

  65. cleveland1980 says: Aug 2, 2012 3:40 PM

    all immature Steelers fans please see tomthebombtracy’s post above. he is the first classy Steeler fan ive seen on these posts in months. Pitt has dominatef cle for many years now…but most posts on here only mention immature peanut gallery zingers on why cle sucks. the way most of you act basrd off you posts make it appear as if you are the ones with a crappy franchise. show your class and let your team do the talking on the field. that is the crux of what you actually have over us in the first place!

  66. flushdownmikebrown says: Aug 2, 2012 3:41 PM

    Browns sold for 1BB?

    Garbage day is monday, I am going to sell my trash rather than take it out….. Should get atleast $1MM for it….

  67. muskyhunter2542 says: Aug 2, 2012 3:47 PM

    The Browns are the most insignificant franchise in the NFL

  68. mazenblue says: Aug 2, 2012 5:08 PM

    I wanna buy some shares. LOL

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