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What’s changed about the stadium? You name it

1/24/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Craig Marks

Notes and advisements for media covering the Cleveland Browns:

• Do not refer to the team’s home field as “Cleveland Browns Stadium.” It is now “FirstEnergy Stadium: Home of the Cleveland Browns.” Please explain to West Coast viewers that FirstEnergy is an Akron-based power company, not a new-age religion.

• FirstEnergy’s deal with the Browns is good for 17 years or six head coaches, whichever comes first.

• Please stress that it is FirstEnergy shareholders, not customers, who are paying for the naming rights. (Another interesting fact: If you eat a crumbled-up cookie, you will not gain any weight.)

• Five years before the Browns’ sponsorship deal, the Indians changed the name of their ballpark from Jacobs Field to Progressive Field. It was going to be called “Progressive Insurance Ballpark: Home of the Cleveland Indians and, on Occasion, Flesh-Biting Midges,” but the sign was too heavy and imperiled fans walking through the main gate.

• Coincidentally, the Indians have also shown an interest in energy, installing solar panels and a wind turbine in their ballpark. In fact, the Indians are so committed to the turbine that they recently acquired hitters Drew Stubbs and Mark Reynolds, who struck out a combined total of 338 times in 2012. The breeze they’ll produce this year could light up a small town.

• Yes, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ home, Quicken Loans Arena, is often called “The Q.” But under no circumstances should you refer to the Browns’ stadium as “The F.”

• Note that the correct spelling of the company’s name is “FirstEnergy,” not “First Energy.” There was a space, but like the hole in a typical Browns running play, it closed up quickly.

• FirstEnergy reportedly paid $102 million for the naming rights. While that’s a lot of money, it could be well worth it if it helps the company’s image. Already it’s proven beneficial. For example, when you now Google “FirstEnergy,” the November story about the company laying off 142 employees due to a weak economy is pushed farther down the page.

• FirstEnergy customers will notice their electrical usage will be now measured in “chuds.”

• FirstEnergy also sponsors the All-American Soap Box Derby. This shows the company’s strong commitment to the community, even if the idea of an electric company sponsoring a gravity-powered race is kind of like a vegetarian cook-off sponsored by Arby’s.

• The home of The University of Akron soccer team is also called “FirstEnergy Stadium.” This is why your GPS is having a nervous breakdown.

See you at the games.

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