SBD/August 8, 2014/Facilities

Indians Unveil Renovations That Will Reduce Seating Capacity At Progressive Field

Indians execs hope the renovations will help boost sagging attendance
The Indians on Thursday announced the elimination of "roughly 7,000 little-used seats and some empty suites for new gathering areas at Progressive Field, as part of a multimillion-dollar renovation scheduled to start this year," according to a front-page piece by Michelle Jarboe McFee of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Indians President Mark Shapiro said that the team is "responding to years of fan feedback and broader changes in professional sports." The Indians "hope to boost sagging attendance at games by tailoring sections of the park to families and young professionals, creating more standing-room areas and social spaces, and trying to better link the field to the city." The renovations, which will "stretch from center field to right field, could be finished" by Opening Day '15. The club is "capping off a section of the upper deck, which sits empty on all but the busiest days, with a platform that will conceal unused seats and create new game-viewing areas." The Indians are also "remaking the Gate C entrance off East Ninth Street by pulling out concrete and opening up views of the ballpark from the street." The gate makeover will "eliminate a pavilion and a bar, but the Indians plan to build a two-story, indoor-outdoor bar in right field." The club is "moving the bullpens up into the seating area in center field to give fans a better view of the players during warm-ups." The shift will "create a section of exclusive seats in front of the new bullpens and will open up the existing bullpen space to fans who want to stand closer to the field." The Indians are also "expanding the Kids Clubhouse, which opened" in '12, to "two levels and renovating the mezzanine." Shapiro "wouldn't put a figure on the costs of the project, which is the first -- and largest -- of several years worth of renovations the team is considering" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/8). Shapiro said that the renovations will be "'100%' privately financed by Indians ownership and via a partnership" with concessionaire Delaware North. The project "will begin as soon" as the '14 season is finished. He added the work will go out "very shortly" (CRAINSCLEVELAND.com, 8/7).

MOVIN ON UP: MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince noted a new "climate-controlled two-story bar will take root in right field, at the current location of the Budweiser Patio." Both the home and visiting bullpens will be in a "tiered section beyond" the center field wall and there will be a "small group of exclusive seats just in front of the bullpens." The "recently unveiled" Jim Thome statue along with Bob Feller's statue will be "consolidated to one area at Gate C, where they will be joined by future statues," including one in '15 honoring Larry Doby who broke the A.L. color barrier (MLB.com, 8/7).
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