Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner is in the process of closing a $920 million deal to sell the Browns to Knoxville, TN businessman James Haslam, according to a report from Forbes. While that sounds excessive and will certainly net the Lerner family a tidy profit on their initial investment, Haslam may be getting a deal in the context of the NFL.
Lerner had been looking for between $1 billion and $1.1 billion for the team his father purchased for $530 million in 1998. Haslam is currently a minority owner of the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers and is president and CEO of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J, an $18 billion in sales chain of truck stops.
Last August we valued the Browns at $977 million, 2oth out of the league's 32 teams. The Browns posted an operating loss (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $2.9 million during the 2010 season. The only other NFL teams to have an operating loss that year were the Detroit Lions. The Browns have lost 67% of their games during their 13 seasons. The only team to do worse over that span? The Lions.
As mentioned above, Haslam owns a piece of the Pittsburgh Steelers and still considers himself "1000% Pittsburgh Steelers fan." If he closes this deal with Lerner, Haslam won't be wearing any black and yellow after shelling out so much green for the Browns.