Panoramic photo of Progressive Field. Home of the Cleveland Indians.

Earlier this week, the Cleveland Indians asked the Cuyahoga County Council for $8M in taxpayer revenue to help pay for renovations to Progressive Field’s ticket booth, administrative offices and club seating area. Gateway Development Corp. serves as the middleman between the Cleveland Indians and Cuyahoga County when it comes to each party’s lease obligations.

We speculate that the request for funds will be approved by Cuyahoga County following the announcement that Progressive Field will be hosting the 2019 MLB All-Star game. Gateway Development Corp pays for all of the improvements to Progressive Field in excess of $500K via funds generated by a county-wide “sin tax” on alcohol and cigarette sales. The tax yields nearly $15M annually and is then distributed to the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers to help pay for stadium maintenance. However, nearly half of the $15M is put towards the bonds that were sold as an advance on the sin tax. Complex stuff but the sin tax doesn’t generate enough money to cover the $8M the Cleveland Indians are currently asking for.

The Cleveland Indians project the renovations of the ticket booths and administrative offices to cost nearly $2M to complete. The number of ticket booths will be reduced since the team no longer needs as many windows as when Progressive Field first opened in 1994. Online ticket sales are the culprit for this needed change. The square footage of the administrative offices would be increased exponentially. The Cleveland Indians currently employ more than double the amount of people they did when Progressive Field first opened.

The renovation of the club area on the second level of Progressive Field would cost about $6M to complete. Upgrades would be included in the kitchens and dining areas, concourses, club lounge and sections 326 to 348. At the moment, the club lounge is closed off from the live game and club level concourse. However, the team plans to maximize space and integrate the lounge with both areas.

The Progressive Field renovation project would begin following the conclusion of the 2018 Major League Baseball season and would be completed in time for the beginning of the 2019 season. Many Major League Baseball teams are making a strong effort to make sure their stadiums are up to date and offer the latest amenities to fans. The Cleveland Indians have allocated more than $40M towards renovating Progressive Field in recent years. Renovations are always better than tearing down middle-aged stadiums and building brand new digs at the expense of the local taxpayer.

 

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