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Holmgren and Heckert talk to some Season Ticket Holders…….

Browns President and GM talked to some season ticket holders and club suite owners in a teleconference to talk to some fans. Here are some of the questions the loyal fans asked.


“It’s really cool that you’re doing this,” said Dan from Toledo, a six-year season-ticket holder. He asked whether new free-agent quarterback Seneca Wallace would have special plays drawn up for him or just be a backup.

Wallace wasn’t brought in just to hold a clipboard, Holmgren assured him. “It’s fun to have him,” he said, “and our offensive coordinator can get very creative in this area, and Seneca’s excited about it.”

Why sign Delhomme, who “arguably was the worst quarterback in the league for the last year-and-a-half?” wondered Bill of northern Virginia.

“Well, you know what, I can’t argue with you too much,” said Holmgren, though he praised Delhomme’s leadership. Holmgren said that after a confidential conversation with the former Carolina quarterback, he was convinced Delhomme could help the team.

With the draft just two weeks away, several fans sought hints of the Browns’ wish list.

Holmgren apologized for being cryptic, but made it clear their top choice might not necessarily plug a glaring hole in the roster.

“We’re going to take the best player available to us,” he said. “If it happens to fit at a position we need, great, but I don’t want to reach and stretch to get a player just because of a need at a position. We want to get good value.”

Fans learned that:

• They should expect to see their team play coach Eric Mangini’s 3-4 defense, but with a more balanced run-pass offense next season.

•That the Browns don’t plan to pursue a veteran free-agent wide receiver.

•From Heckert’s perspective, after quarterback, the most important positions in football are left offensive tackle, an “edge” pass-rusher, either at defensive end or linebacker, and then cornerback.

Teams routinely hold fan focus groups and solicit feedback in other ways. But with Thursday’s session, the Browns joined about a dozen NFL teams, Heckert’s old team, Philadelphia, among them, that are combining technology with a little old-school customer relations: Make the fans feel like they matter.

It’s also good business. Last season, as the Browns started 1-11 before winning their last four games, the team played to half-filled stadiums, under the threat of having home games blacked out on local television for waning interest.

Since the Browns returned in 1999, they’ve had nine losing seasons, five head coaches and almost as many team presidents. Meanwhile, the number of season tickets held slipped to about 55,000 last season, from 60,000 the year before.

Sports business executive Marc Ganis said the teleconference was just one of the many steps the Browns must take to let fans know they’re working hard to get the organization on track.

“Let’s be blunt about this,” Ganis said. “These are some of the greatest fans the NFL has ever had, and they’ve had to endure bad football and regime change after regime change, and I know for a fact that the NFL feels they deserve better.”

About 3,800, or 23 percent of the nearly 17,000 season-ticket accounts invited to participate, checked in for at least part of the hour-long teleconference, peaking at about 1,300 callers at one point.

The Browns also used the teleconference to gauge fan interest, asking participants to indicate whether they’ve already renewed their season tickets, plan to or will not. They also were reminded the deadline to re-up was May 1.

Holmgren has talked to fans on his Seattle radio show, but this was his first team-orchestrated teleconference. After spending about a half hour answering questions, Holmgren said, “There’s a certain fan base that is always going to be there. Then I think there are fans of this team — I could be wrong — that are kind of worn out. I think this gives that guy a chance to hear from us how it might be different this time.”

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One Response to “Holmgren and Heckert talk to some Season Ticket Holders…….”

  1. Denolakes says:

    This is smart front office work. It will only work if the product on the field reflects the hype of the management.

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