The Indians announced Thursday that they’ve reached an agreement with the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and the State of Ohio on a “collaboration for the future preservation and enhancement of Progressive Field.” The agreement will include facility upgrades for the stadium itself and, most notably, extend the team’s lease at the ballpark for “at least 15 years to 2036.” The agreement also comes with “the potential for 10 additional years to 2046.” The city and county councils still need to approve the project within the coming months, but it doesn’t seem there’s much doubt they’ll both do so.
“Our organization is proud to continue our long-term commitment to Cleveland by ensuring we keep our ballpark competitive,” owner Paul Dolan said in this morning’s press release. “We want to give our fans, our community, and our players the best ballpark experience possible. We are excited and appreciate the collaborative effort displayed by leadership from the county, city, and state to help make this first step possible and look forward to the next stages in the legislative process to finalize the agreement.”
Tom Withers of the Associated Press reports that the collaboration calls for $435MM worth of renovations, funded by an undisclosed division of expenses among the city, county, state and team. The press release stresses that the government funding involves no new or increased taxes to residents.
Today’s announcement confirms the longstanding expectation the organization will stay in Cleveland for the foreseeable future. While the current lease is set to expire after the 2023 season, Zack Meisel, Jason Lloyd and Bill Shea of the Athletic wrote last month that a lease extension looked likely. The Indians have played at Progressive Field since 1994, making it the tenth-longest tenured active team-ballpark pairing in MLB.
The franchise has been in Cleveland since 1901. Only the Cubs, Reds, Cardinals, Pirates and Phillies have been in their current city for a longer time. Beginning in 2022, the organization is adopting the “Guardians” moniker in homage to the “Guardians of Traffic” statues on Cleveland’s Hope Memorial Bridge.