By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
November 25, 2013
Even as NFL teams claim that their games are sellouts, empty seats are becoming the norm this season for several franchises. So far on the year, 10 teams are playing to stadiums that are less than 95% full, up from just five teams in 2008. The in-stadium fan experience is to blame for decreasing attendance.
One team taking a proactive approach to improving the fan experience is the Cleveland Browns. While other teams have struggled at the gate, the Browns actually rank amongst the NFL’s top ten teams in attendance on the year. Now, the Browns are planning a $120 million renovation of FirstEnergy Stadium. The renovation will take place over two years, with new scoreboards and video screens installed in 2014 and improvements to the concession areas coming in 2015. Cleveland is wise to improve the in-stadium experience while attendance is strong; as opposed to waiting for fans to stop coming to the stadium and fighting to draw them back.