Knoxville's Jimmy Haslam buys Cleveland Browns

Knoxville's Jimmy Haslam pays more than $1 billion for Cleveland Browns

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Jimmy Haslam (source: University of Tennessee) Jimmy Haslam (source: University of Tennessee)

CLEVELAND (WATE) - Jimmy Haslam, president of Knoxville's Pilot Travel Centers, has successfully completed negotiations to buy the Cleveland Browns.

Haslam is reportedly paying in excess of $1 billion for the National Football League team.

Browns owner Randy Lerner agreed to sell a majority stake in the Browns to Haslam, along with his family.

"This is a very exciting time for my family and me," Haslam said in a statement on the Browns website. "To own such a storied franchise as the Cleveland Browns, with its rich tradition and history, is a dream come true. We are committed to keeping the team in Cleveland and seeing it get back to the elite of the NFL – something all Browns fans want and deserve. We plan to bring relentless dedication and hard work to every aspect of this organization, and we look forward to getting to know this team and community as quickly as possible. Our family is committed to becoming an integral part of the Cleveland community. We also want to thank Randy Lerner for his friendship, counsel and support during this process."

Approval of the deal is required by NFL owners, which is expected to happen in October.

Paperwork for the deal was completed Thursday morning.

Haslam has been a minority partner in the Pittsburgh Steelers since December 2008.

Haslam's father, James, Jr., founded Pilot Travel Centers in 1958. It is the nation's largest retail operator of travel centers and truck-stops. 

Jimmy's brother, Bill Haslam, is the governor of Tennessee and former mayor of Knoxville.

Forbes ranks the Cleveland Browns as the 30th most valuable sports team in the world, with a worth of $977 million.

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