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Volume 22 No. 23
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Indians, Progressive Field find perfect fit in The Corner

The Cleveland Indians have rolled out their long-awaited upgrades to Progressive Field, and a new bar anchoring the renovations in right-center field appears to be a hit.

The $26 million project, in the works for more than five years dating to the team’s master plan for improving the 21-year-old ballpark, officially made its debut for the Tribe’s April 10 regular-season opener.

The Indians’ new bar, The Corner, features views of the field, a spacious interior and a self-serve beer wall.
Photo by: DAN MENDLIK
Judging from the crowds early on, one of the top attractions has been The Corner, a two-story bar featuring 40 craft beers and ciders, including a dozen varieties that fans can purchase by the pour from a self-serve beer wall inside the tavern.

The bar can fit 750 people between the indoor space and an outdoor area equipped with tiered drink rails for fans to enjoy a microbrew and watch the game, said Chris Angne, general manager of Delaware North Sportservice. Delaware North,

Photo by: DAN MENDLIK
the team’s food provider, helped finance the improvements.

Fox Sports Ohio, the Indians’ regional television partner, has a broadcast stage set up next to the bar’s ground floor. The network sponsors the bar’s second floor, branded as the SportsTime Ohio Patio.

For the first three home games, craft beers accounted for 75 percent of total sales at The Corner, Angne said. Prices were

Photo by: SARAH SACHS / CLEVELAND INDIANS
$6.50 for a small draft beer and $12 for a large beer. Separately, Sportservice sold 400 beer flights containing four five-ounce craft brews at $12 apiece, he said.

The bar used to be part of the Bud Patio, a private group space downstairs with suites upstairs, including one large party unit reserved for single-game sales. Now it has been transformed into a social gathering space open to all fans. The bar’s design includes pieces of wood and steel reclaimed from a city bridge. As an upper-deck attraction, it falls in line with The Rooftop at Coors Field, a popular right-field spot at the Colorado Rockies’ ballpark, and other reinventions of spaces at facilities to attract millennials with a focus on serving local brands popular outside of sports venues.

For the first time in Cleveland, Sportservice brought in familiar food vendors as part of the right-field redevelopment such as Melt, a gourmet grilled cheese restaurant, Dynomite Burgers and Sweet Moses Soda Fountain and Treat Shop. On Opening Day, Melt products were the No. 1 seller. Sportservice sold 725 sandwiches priced at $6.50 and $8.50, Angne said.

To get ideas for improving Progressive Field, the Indians researched newer MLB parks such as Target Field and buildings of a similar age such as Oriole Park at Camden Yards that have gone through retrofits.

Team officials also visited NFL and NHL venues to gain insight on the fan experience outside of baseball, namely AT&T Stadium, said Andrew Miller, the Indians’ senior vice president of strategy and analytics.

“We’re [past] our 20th season at Progressive Field and need to find ways to make the experience new and compelling for a new generation of fans,” Miller said.

As part of the process, the Indians studied other parks that have reduced capacity over the years. At Progressive Field, one of their biggest challenges has been eliminating excess suite inventory at a stadium that opened with 130 suites in 1994.

The most recent renovations got rid of 16 regular suites and two party suites, reducing the number to 85 sellable units, Miller said. All told, the right-center field adjustments have reduced ballpark seating to 37,500, a decrease of about 6,000 seats compared with last season.

On the premium front, the Indians would ultimately like to get down to between 40 and 60 suites through future renovations, numbers on par with newer MLB parks.

“We’re still planning with a number of different ideas to test different uses of spaces,” he said. “In 2012, we built the Kids Clubhouse at a low cost by knocking out some suite walls. Same thing with the Infiniti Club. There could be future uses like that.”