The Browns and Buckeyes have little in common besides passionate fan bases, but both teams will use Ohio Stadium this summer.
The Browns will borrow Ohio State's home field on August 7 to host the "Orange & Brown Scrimmage" as part of Family Day 2015, the team announced Thursday.
This marks the second consecutive year that Family Day will be held outside of Cleveland. Last year, Akron's InfoCision Stadium hosted the event, drawing 20,763 fans. As in years past, the intrasquad scrimmage will be open to the public, but prior registration is required.
As Cleveland.com's Tom Reed reported Thursday, season ticket holders will be able to pre-register from June 16-19 before the general public receives access to registration on June 20. The time of the scrimmage is not yet set, but as Reed reported, it will likely start in the late afternoon.
The decision to host the scrimmage and family day in Columbus likely stems from the club's flirtation with the idea of moving training camp away from Berea. As the Akron Beacon Journal's Nate Ulrich noted, Haslam admitted the team's interest in Columbus three months ago:
"We have been talking to Columbus about potentially moving camp down there in a couple years. But nothing has been finalized ... The logistics of all that are substantial. It takes a while to plan and get everything in place. The No. 1 thing we want to make sure we do is provide for the welfare and safety of our players and give them a great place, not just to practice, but to train, et cetera. So we’ll move very slowly on that."
The Browns will make the most of their time in Columbus, with activities starting three hours before the scrimmage's kickoff. As WKYC.com reported, the festivities will begin at St. John Arena, where fans can receive autographs from former Browns players, interact with Swagger, and enjoy live music.
Ohio Stadium will certainly provide the Browns with a large enough venue, as the renowned stadium seats nearly 105,000. The Buckeyes nearly filled the Horseshoe for the spring game, drawing over 99,000 while setting ticket prices at $15 and $5.
As ESPNCleveland.com's Tony Grossi stated, the Browns have not played in the 'Shoe in over 40 years. Per Grossi: "The last time the Browns played a full-scale exhibition game in Ohio Stadium was 1974, which was the third in a three-year series against the Cincinnati Bengals. The third game drew only 36,326, but the previous two attracted 84,816 and 73,421."
The event will be a homecoming of sorts for safety Donte Whitner and wide receiver Brian Hartline, as the two once starred in Scarlet and Gray before going pro.
The scrimmage in Columbus will only be part of the Browns' efforts to attract fans before the start of the season. The team will also host open practices during training camp. Just like the scrimmage, fans simply need to pre-register.
As other Cleveland media pundits have said, this decision by the Browns seems like a test for the city of Columbus. The Browns have shown interest in moving training camp to another venue besides Berea. If the Orange & Brown Scrimmage attracts a large crowd, the Browns might just use Columbus as the host for training camp in the future.