Cleveland, OH, United States (4E Sports) – The Cleveland Browns have sold more than 2,000 season tickets since they selected quarterback Johnny Manziel with the 22nd pick in Thursday’s first round of the NFL draft.
“We know right now that every one of our games is going to be sold out for next season,” said team president Alec Scheiner.
Scheiner stressed that the business ramifications of the pick weren’t considered despite being aware of the frenzy that could be generated by selecting Manziel.
“The beauty of picking Johnny was that this was a football decision only,” Scheiner said. “It had nothing to do with business in any way. The fact that he’s an incredibly popular athlete wasn’t factored in at all.”
Even though fans lined up at the stadium store to buy No. 2 Manziel jerseys on Friday, first-year coach Mike Pettine told reporters that “Johnny Football” will have to earn a job with the team.
“I don’t think you can hand jobs to people when they come in,” Pettine said. “It’s a situation where despite what’s around him and what’s following him — and there will be pressure to play him — we’re in the business of evaluating the best quarterback for the Cleveland Browns to win football games, and that’s who is going to play, whether that’s Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel.”
Cleveland ticket broker Mark Klang of Amazing Tickets owns hundreds of Browns seats. He said he can’t remember the last time the team had this type of buzz around it.
“I would equate getting Johnny to the night [the Cleveland Cavaliers] won the draft lottery to get LeBron [James] in 2003,” Klang said. “We got more hits to our website in the hour after Johnny was drafted than we got in the three days after the schedule came out.”
Klang said he raised the cheapest tickets he had for next season from $65 to $100. He says he typically loses “well into the five figures” on preseason tickets that never sell but thinks that because of Manziel he might be able to break even now.
Despite the hype of Manziel, Klang agrees with team management, saying long-term performance is what Browns fans ultimately want.
“We want to consistently go 12-4,” Klang said. “If the Browns do that with Johnny Manziel, great, but it doesn’t matter if it’s Brian Hoyer, either.”