Owner in a Hurry

Fans cheering for the Browns

(from Sports Business Journal, March 18, 2013) Jimmy Haslam agreed to buy the Browns in August, which meant having to step down as Pilot CEO and hiring John Compton, a former PepsiCo President, as his replacement. Last month, Haslam decided to return to Pilot and become the CEO again, which sparked some concern in Ohio. Haslam states, “People might disagree with the decision, but I don’t think anybody would question our passion, our commitment to the Browns.”

Haslam is known for being a hands-on CEO at Pilot and he’s doing the same now for the Browns. Haslam promises he will shower the Browns with the same hands-on philosophy of customer service. He states, “Everything we do should be around having the fans have a great experience.” At Haslam’s first game last year, he sat for a half in the Dawg Pound to see what the team’s most ardent fans would like to see changed. He then went back to his office and wrote a list of things that will be worked on or changed for the next season which included: parking, concession lines, restrooms, scoreboards, and security. Haslam and the new team president, Alex Scheiner, and team CEO, Joe Banner, will be meeting soon with Architects to develop a renovation plan for what is now FirstEnergy Stadium. In addition, Haslam is also centralizing all the business functions at a renovated training complex, moving sales out of the stadium so all units can operate under the same roof. Haslam is also investing team cash flow in capital improvements like the training facility. Haslam believes that if all things go well then his team can double in value within his first 10 years of ownership. Haslam knows that he must motivate his team, get involved, but back away at the right time to achieve that kind of success.