Marketing Exec to Head Cleveland Browns Trust
CLEVELAND (AP) _ Bill Futterer, a marketing executive who helped bring two expansion teams to North Carolina, was appointed by the NFL on Thursday to be president of the Cleveland Browns Trust.
He will coordinate a variety of business and marketing activities for the expected return of the Browns in 1999. Futterer will represent the NFL’s interests in construction of the new football stadium, as well as directing the sale of loges, club seats and season tickets.
Under terms of the deal with the NFL for the new football team, the city must pledge up to $9.5 million in suites and premium seating in the proposed new stadium by Jan. 31, 1997.
``Ohio fans are among the most loyal and tenacious fans in the country,″ Futterer said by phone from his Venice, Fla., office. ``I think that’s a positive. I would have expected them to be upset that the team was leaving, but I also expect them to be excited that the team is coming back.″
The city lost the Browns this year when owner Art Modell moved the franchise to Baltimore and renamed it the Ravens.
Futterer, a former executive vice president of Muhleman Marketing of Charlotte, N.C., helped that state acquire expansion teams in the NFL and NBA. He then helped find land and recommended financing sources for the teams’ home sites.
Since 1991, Futterer also has been involved in senior executive positions in developing and managing real estate in Florida, and most recently was president of Suncoast Acquisition and Management Group in Venice.
``Bill Futterer clearly understands the unique relationship between the Browns and their fans that led to the historic NFL-Cleveland agreement,″ NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said. ``Bill is a proven sports marketing executive with a great depth of experience when it comes to developing franchises and stadiums.″
Futterer won the Browns job over Jim Miller, former executive vice president of the New Orleans Saints, the Plain Dealer reported.
``They told me they felt NFL experience was less important than somebody who was a dyed-in-the-wool marketing guy,″ Miller said.