December 19, 2014

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Browns moving ‘Family Night’ scrimmage to Akron this year

CLEVELAND — The Browns’ annual “Family Night” practice will have a new name and a new location this year.

InfoCision Stadium on the campus of the University of Akron has been chosen to host Cleveland’s intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 2. The “Family Day” event will begin at 11:30 a.m. and last 2½ hours.

WKYC-TV 3 — the Browns’ local television rights holder — made the announcement on its Thursday evening newscasts. The team is expected to provide additional details today.

All previous “Family Night” sessions have taken place at FirstEnergy Stadium (formerly Cleveland Browns Stadium), but renovations to the lakefront facility will not be complete in time to host this year’s presentation.

Tickets for the event will be free, as usual, but fans will be required to obtain them in advance via online registration.

A crowd of 24,131 attended the 2013 practice, but demand is expected to be much higher this year because of rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel.

InfoCision Stadium has 27,881 permanent seats, but the Zips’ athletic department lists its capacity as 30,000 because of standing-room availability behind each end zone.

The University of Akron played its first football game in the $61.6 million stadium on Sept. 12, 2009.

Though “Family Day” will mark the first time the Browns have visited Akron since returning to the NFL in 1999, the franchise regularly played preseason games in the city beginning in 1946.

Cleveland hosted 15 NFL and four AAFC exhibition games at the off-campus Rubber Bowl, culminating with a Sept. 8, 1973, matchup against the New York Giants.

“Family Day” will take place mere hours before the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Fawcett Stadium in Canton. It also will run concurrently with the PGA Tour’s Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron.

The Browns open their preseason schedule in Detroit on Aug. 9 and play their initial home contest against St. Louis at FirstEnergy Stadium on Aug. 23.

Cleveland begins the regular season at Pittsburgh on Sept. 7.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.

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