The Cleveland Browns were sold to Jimmy Haslam III on Thursday for a cost of more than $1 billion. Under terms of the deal Haslam will pay owner Randy Lerner $700 million during phase one of the buyout and then an additional $300 million to complete the purchase.
Haslam couldn’t have been any more excited to spend $1 billion, releasing the following statement on Thursday afternoon:
“This is a very exciting time for my family and me.
To own such a storied franchise as the Cleveland Browns, with its rich tradition and history, is a dream come true. We are committed to keeping the team in Cleveland and seeing it get back to the elite of the NFL — something all Browns fans want and deserve.”
The deals paperwork was completed on Thursday morning and NFL ownership are expected to approve Haslam’s buyout in October.
There should not be any issues with team ownership approval since the NFL brought Haslam to Lerner after he spoke with league officials and told them how much he would love to own the Browns.
Haslam is the president and CEO of Pilot Flying J, the largest travel centers operator in North America, he is also the brother of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.
Randy Lerner’s late father Al Lerner purchased the Cleveland Browns in 1998 after the club moved from Baltimore. The inactive team was purchased for $530 million and was handed over to Randy Lerner in 2002 following his father’s death.
Since being resurrected in 1999 the team has only made the playoffs one time and fans had all but given up on Lerner’s disconnected style of engagement.
This isn’t Jimmy Haslam’s first foray into NFL ownership, he was previously a minority investor in the Pittsburgh Steelers and now he owns the teams chief rivals.
Haslam is now working with the Rooney family to sell off his minority stake in the Steelers.
Cleveland fans can rest assured their team will stay in Cleveland with Haslam declaring, “the Brown’s aren’t going anywhere.”