Browns altering stadium to become more fan friendly
CLEVELAND – The fan base has spoken, and the Browns are listening.
In an attempt to enhance the fan experience at home games, Browns president Alec Scheiner announced several changes that will be implemented at the start of the season. Reacting to complaints about the time it takes to pass through security, the team will have 20 new turnstiles and 44 screening chutes. The hope is that approximately 4,000 more fans will enter the stadium in a 15-minute period compared to last year.
“The fans have been pretty clear that when they get to the stadium it takes too long to get into the stadium,” Scheiner said.
In accordance with the NFL’s policy that all bags must be smaller and transparent, the Browns have purchased transparent bags for each of their season-ticket holders. Along with that, there will be express lanes for fans who don’t have bags.
Among other changes will be the addition and upgrade of cell phone services, changes in the inventory and look of in-stadium kiosks, hospitality training for stadium workers and improvements in pre-game and in-game experiences.
The music repertoire, which hadn’t changed in years, will change. A disc jockey will entertain before and during the game. More speakers and videos and a drum line will be part of the package.
Scheiner indicated that the manner in which the team is introduced will change in an attempt to generate more excitement and tap into the homefield advantage.
The Browns recently hired Kevin Griffin to serve as vice-president in charge of fan experience. Griffin, the son of two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie, previously worked for the Seattle Seahawks.
Since their return to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have been woeful at home, going 41-71 at the former Cleveland Browns Stadium.
ON REVIEW: Receiver Travis Benjamin could be the replacement for Joshua Cribbs as the punt and kick returner. Last season Benjamin returned three punts for 97 yards, including a 93-yarder for a touchdown, and three kicks for 76 yards.
“If they tell me it’s my number being called to be back there, I’m ready to do it,” Benjamin said.
INJURY UDATE: Receiver Josh Gordon was on the field but didn’t participate in drills because of patellar tendinitis in a knee. Gordon appeared to hurt the knee on the first day of camp when he came down on it trying to make a leaping catch.
Defensive tackle Phil Taylor was in uniform but didn’t do much Monday. Defensive lineman Desmond Bryant was out with back spasms. Safety Tashaun Gipson skipped drills with a sore shoulder. Running back Montario Hardesty (hamstring), fullback Brock Bolen (calf) and offensive tackle Oniel Cousins (knee) also skipped drills.
SURPRISE GUEST: PGA golfer Jason Dufner was a sideline observer during practice. Dufner, who’s from Olmsted Falls, took a picture with Quentin Groves and D’Qwell Jackson and talked with quarterback Brandon Weeden, who’s a decent golfer.
Dufner is in the area for this week’s Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron.
DAY OFF: The players are off today before resuming camp Wednesday afternoon. They will practice three straight days before Family Fun Night Saturday at 6 p.m. at First Energy Stadium.
CAMPING OUT: Cornerback Joe Haden continues his strong camp. He went high to break up a Weeden pass intended for Greg Little. Chris Owens, who’s competing with rookie Leon McFadden and Buster Skrine at the other corner, picked off a Weeden pass that was tipped in the end zone. Receiver Josh Cooper was able to keep both feet inbounds while pulling in what looked to be a throwaway pass by Brian Hoyer. Cooper seems to leading all receivers in receptions. Groves darted off the line of scrimmage for what would have been a sack. Groves was untouched on the play. Overall, a better day for the defense than the offense.