Brown vice president Jim Bailey is moving to Baltimore immediately to begin preparing for the team's 1996 season, and Modell, unwilling to risk the wrath of the fans in Cleveland, will move to his home in Florida. Under Modell's 30-year agreement with the Maryland Stadium Authority, the Browns will play in old Memorial Stadium in 1996 and '97 and then move to a 70,000-seat open-air football stadium next to Oriole Park. The Browns will pay stadium operating expenses (about $3 million a year), but they will have use of the stadium rent-free and will keep all ticket, concession, parking and stadium advertising revenue. There will be 108 luxury boxes and 7,500 club seats. The Browns will be paid up to $75 million for their moving expenses, including any NFL relocation fee that the owners may require. Another $15 million for a new training complex will come from the sale of personal seat licenses.
In all, the Browns should be able to increase their revenue by about $30 million a year with the move, which in the end made Modell's decision a simple one. It was the right thing to do, the owner told his wife, Pat, on Sunday night, "for the future of the children and the future of the grandchildren." And Modell has no doubt that his fellow owners will see it the same way. "When I lay out my losses and my lack of support from the city," he said after the press conference, "they'll see I have a far greater justification for moving than any team that's tried to move in the NFL. They'd be insane to vote against me."