Mystique is created on the field, not from a name

Posted by Vic Carucci on January 17, 2013 – 12:28 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Matt – These corporate names to stadiums and arenas are getting ridiculous. I understand that there is big money involved, but these corporate names take away the mystique of these stadiums.

I hear you, Matt.

There’s a definite part of me that likes to hang onto to those bygone days when stadiums and arenas were simply places where games were played rather than massive billboards.

But as the financial stakes in professional sports in general and the NFL in particular continue to soar, it is virtually impossible for teams to ignore the highly lucrative revenue opportunities that naming-rights deals provide. To do so is to give up a significant competitive edge, and that runs counter to a franchise’s very existence.

And I truly don’t think naming-rights deals diminish the mystique of the venues that have them. I’ve always felt mystique is created by a team’s performance, and especially from having consistent success at home.

Clearly, that hasn’t been the case for the Browns in a long time. But when (not if) that time does arrive, they will do for FirstEnergy Stadium, Home of the Cleveland Browns what other teams have done for the places they call home.

Greg – As long as the team and stadium are still in Cleveland, OH, I’m OK with the name change. Now, let’s do something about the uniforms. It’s time for a change.

I think there’s a good chance you’ll get your wish, Greg.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam seems very open to the idea of changing the uniforms, but has said that he does not want to change the helmets, which are the most defining characteristic of the team’s look.

Under NFL rules, it takes two years before a uniform change can be instituted, so … stay tuned!

Douglas – The sad part of this specific name change is that sportscasters and others will resort to miserable puns for years to come. Whether the crowd is electric, the team runs out of power, whatever, it’s going to get old quickly. I didn’t see a problem with naming rights to the four gates rather than to the entire stadium, but if this is the sort of thing it takes to make the Browns a premier team in the NFL again, well, so be it. That said, to me, just as it’ll always be “Jacobs Field” (without the tired taint of corporatism), it’ll always be “the stadium” or “Cleveland Stadium.”

I respect your feelings, Douglas.

Yes, we’re probably going to have to endure some bad puns along the way (none from me, of course). Still, I firmly believe the benefits from the deal’s ability to help enhance the Browns’ competitiveness will outweigh the negatives by a lot.

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