JW Johnson

Executive Vice President, Partner

James Wood “JW” Johnson III is executive vice president of the Cleveland Browns and is a Partner of the Haslam Sports Group. Johnson helps lead the strategic direction on the business side of the organization, particularly focused on media, marketing, partnerships, fan experience, and digital content. In addition to his role on the business side, Johnson also served as a member of the head coach and general manager search committee that identified Kevin Stefanski and Andrew Berry to lead the organization in their respective areas in January of 2020.

Johnson was one of the Browns’ primary advocates, along with ownership and other team executives, in bringing the NFL Draft to Northeast Ohio in 2021. On May 22, 2019, Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL announced that Cleveland would host the 2021 NFL Draft, in partnership with the City of Cleveland, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, and Destination Cleveland.

In January 2019, JW, his wife Whitney, Dee and Jimmy Haslam, and other Haslam family members expanded their sports interests and investments when they reached an agreement with Major League Soccer to operate the Columbus Crew. The Haslams, Johnsons, and partner Dr. Pete Edwards direct the organization’s long-term strategies and day-to-day functions. After only two seasons in their role as investor-operators, the club captured MLS Cup 2020, their second championship in league history. Less than two years after breaking ground, the Crew opened their newly constructed downtown Columbus stadium, Lower.com Field, in July of 2021. Designed to complement the city of Columbus’ modern, dynamic and diverse characteristics, Lower.com Field will anchor a mixed-use development neighborhood called Astor Park. The club also completed the construction of a world-class training facility named the Ohio Health Performance Center in June 2021.

After the family acquired the Crew, they formed the Haslam Sports Group (HSG). HSG, which owns and operates the Crew and the Browns, also explores various investment opportunities within the sports and entertainment industries. HSG recently became an investor in Misfits Gaming Group, a global esports, and entertainment company.

Johnson’s professional background includes 15 years at CBS Sports, three years with RIVR media, and in 2013, he created 3 Sons Media, a creative agency and full-service production and post-production company based in Nashville, Tenn. The company has worked with brands such as the NFL, NIKE, ESPN, and NASCAR. 3 Sons created all the in-game video content for the Tennessee Titans in 2016 and helped produce the Browns’ in-game content look for the past five seasons.

While with CBS Sports (1994-09), Johnson was an Emmy award-winning associate producer and associate director. He covered some of the largest sporting events in the world, such as the Masters, Super Bowl, and Final Four.

Johnson has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and communications from the University of Mississippi in Oxford. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Cleveland Browns Foundation and chairs the foundation’s fundraising committee.

He and his wife, Whitney, have three sons, Hank, Ross, and Max.