September 22, 2014

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Indians to renovate Progressive Field

The Cleveland Indians have announced a major renovation project for Progressive Field, which opened in 1994. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

The Cleveland Indians have announced a major renovation project for Progressive Field, which opened in 1994. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians plan an extensive renovation of Progressive Field over the next two years, remodeling the 20-year-old downtown ballpark to better connect with their fans.

The club intends to make interior and exterior modifications to the area stretching from center to right field, a person familiar with the plans confirmed for The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The changes will require a modest reduction in seats, which the team will offset by the addition of social areas to accommodate fans, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not made its designs public.

The first phase of the project, expected to be finished by the 2015 home opener, will be privately financed, the person said.

The Indians will provide details of the “major enhancements” at the 43,000-seat ballpark at a news conference on Thursday. Team president Mark Shapiro will lead a guided media tour to areas of the ballpark that will be modified and upgraded.

In making substantial improvements to Progressive Field, the team will join the city’s two other professional teams, the Browns and Cavaliers, who are both in the process of making enhancements at FirstEnergy Stadium and Quicken Loans Arena. While the current projects are being funded privately, some in the future may be paid with public money after voters in Cuyahoga County approved a 20-year extension of a tax on cigarettes and alcohol in May.

Known as Jacobs Field when it opened in 1994 to replace crumbling Municipal Stadium, the 43,000-seat home of Cleveland’s major league baseball team has undergone numerous alterations over the past two decades. The Indians have been proactive in keeping Progressive Field outfitted with the latest in scoreboards, concessions and other services to please today’s fan, and the ballpark has aged gracefully and looks as good as it did when the gates opened in ’94.

However, the club has seen attendance drop from a franchise-high 3.46 million in 1999 to 1.57 million last season. The Indians are drawing only 18,659 fans per game this year — second-lowest in the majors.

There are numerous reasons for the decline: a slow-to-recover economy, dwindling population and baseball’s struggle to lure younger fans among them. The Indians sold out 455 straight games from 1995 to 2001, but those days are long gone, which is why the team is looking to change the look of its ballpark to attract fans.

Also, teams are more cognizant that younger fans are seeking a different game-day experience, which may include higher-end foods and beverages, social media areas, bars and restaurants.

The timing of the Indians’ renovation coincides with a rebirth of downtown Cleveland, which got a recent boost when the Republican Party announced plans to hold its 2016 national convention in the city and NBA superstar LeBron James decided to come back and play for the Cavs.


  • Pablo Jones

    How about cheaper ticket prices? And not just for the cheap seats.

    • stop ur whining part deux

      Avg ticket price for 2014 is $21. The key is avoiding buying anything once you are in there, which is next to impossible. I just take a flask and buy a $6.50 soda. You get refills for $2. I have been 3-4 times this year and spent under $100 total. Albeit twice i sat in $8 bleacher seats.

      Plus once you are in you can pretty much go sit where ever.

    • 2Cents

      The average NY Stankee ticket price for 2014 is $79 and you get to sit and watch a team that buys championships. I would rather watch a team that earns it. Win or Lose . . . . a diehard Indians fan.

  • Sis Delish

    Catering to the Younger Fans? The same Fans who are living with their Parent’s under Obamacare until they are 26?

    Expect the Indians to announce new suites underground… to emulate basement dwelling.

    • Jennifer Williams

      I am a younger fan and I am not on Obama Care and I do not live at home with my parents. Not everyone is like that. Maybe if they kept their decent players and lowered prices a bit they could fill that place up. Your suite in the basement is ready for you.

      • Sis Delish

        “There are numerous reasons for the decline: a slow-to-recover economy, dwindling population and baseball’s struggle to lure younger fans among them.”

        If the economy is slow-to-recover, and we have dwindling populations, then why even Struggle to Lure Younger Fans? Isn’t this the Demographic hardest-hit by the downturn?

        Congrats to you if you escaped being on ObamaCare. Are you a professional student?

        • Jennifer Williams

          No actually I got out of high school and took my test to become a Licensed Customs Broker in which I have become very successful with.

          • brenda

            Hahaha!!! She’s a real wart…not even worth the toad they come on! Happy for you and keep up the good work!

          • Sis Delish

            Can you prepare paperwork to export a few useless trolls on here? Thanks!

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            “At which” is more appropriate.

            And you shouldn’t end your sentence in a preposition.

            i.e. – …at which I have become very successful.

        • 2Cents

          Nail on the head man! Maybe this younger generation will realize that 9 out of the top 10 states losing population are Democrat-led bastions or recently Democrat-leaning states on the presidential level and that “three-fourths of Ohio’s counties have a net loss of residents because of people moving out” of the state. If they want REAL “Hope & Change”, they need to start looking at the facts and stop following. It’s never too late to turn things around. GO Tribe!

        • Exposing Bishop

          Congrats on keeping the Reagan era alive and well. You sure do miss those days huh?

          • brenda

            Lololol..

      • brenda

        Tell her again…I love laughing at her.

    • Exposing Bishop

      Maybe they cater to the middle aged overweight population Bruce?

  • Jennifer Williams

    How about lowering your prices not just for seats but really $10 for a stinking beer that costs you $1 not to mention the parking prices down there. Everything has gone up over the years I spend $30-$40 before I walk into the park and that is not including our tickets. Oh and stop getting rid of our decent players and maybe we would want to come see the games. Lower prices and good players that’s what we want!

    • stop ur whining part deux

      I take a 4oz flask with me. You can buy soda for $6.50 and $2 refills. You can also get a $5 all day RTA pass right to tower city. Been to three or four games this year and still am under $100 total.

    • johns62

      for what its worth, the Indians dont own or control the parking lots around progressive. the one lot can go from 20 to 30 depending on the game.

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    “…to better connect with their fans.”

    Here’s a thought; put together a winning team!

    • Reagan

      Last season the tribe won 92 games. That is a winning team.

      • Larry Crnobrnja

        Making it to the Wild Card playoff isn’t my definition of a winning team. I’m talking about winning it all.

        And this year we’re lingering around the 500 mark all season.

        • Reagan

          Well 92-70 in my book is a winning team. But I am a die hard baseball fan and understand winning it all isn’t as easy as it sounds.

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            It has been over 65 years since they won it all.

            Just saying…
            (And I’m only 55.)

          • Reagan

            Well you just don’t understand baseball. As I said not easy to win it all let alone make it too the big show. Just ask cub fans last time they won it all was 1908. Anytime any team can put together 92 wins in a season is a great one.

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            I understand baseball quite well. You and I just don’t agree on the definition of success. No big deal to me that you are wrong. LOL

          • Reagan

            Sorry you are the one that is wrong. Good day.

          • Reagan

            Not sure what your age has anything to do with the discussion. But I won’t hold your youth and inexperience against you.

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            I’ve never seen them win it all, that’s what.

          • Reagan

            LOL……POOR BABY.

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            Troll.

          • onesears

            A good team is one that can repeatedly contend for the playoffs and a world series. Not a one off lucky season here and there. Trading off your top talent every two or three years just because they don’t want to pay them is not a sign of a contending ball club either. Spend the renovation money on pitching instead…

          • Reagan

            “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success.
            You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world. but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be
            worth a dime.” Babe Ruth