Progressive Field lease extended until '36

August 5th, 2021

The Cleveland Guardians aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

The Indians announced on Thursday that the team and the city of Cleveland struck a deal to extend the Progressive Field lease for at least 15 more years. The soon-to-be Guardians will now remain in Northeast Ohio until at least 2036, and the deal also includes options for 10 additional years.

“We have world-class cities in Ohio who have the arts, the theater, who have all kinds of amenities, all kinds of great, great things,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said. “It’s not just the cities. You look at how many people consider themselves Indians fans. How many people consider themselves Reds fans. They go way out well beyond the cities themselves. It’s just important for all of us for these teams to stay here, and it’s important for these teams to do well.”

The organization also announced on Thursday morning that Progressive Field -- the 11th-oldest ballpark in the Majors -- will soon be undergoing renovations.

“There are multiple areas that we plan on addressing,” Indians owner Paul Dolan said. “We have conceptual renderings of what that will be out at some point in time. … But the idea is to make the ballpark a better experience for our fans.”

Part of the renovation plan includes the Terrace Club in left field, which will be upgraded to better suit the needs of fans, steering away from the original formality of the space. The upper concourse will also be a main area of focus, considering it hasn’t been touched since the ballpark was built in 1994, according to Dolan. The team is also hoping to be able to improve the spaces on the dugout level, among a handful of other ideas.

While the team is guaranteed to remain in Cleveland for the next 15 seasons, the plan is to get the renovations done within the next five years.

“Quicker is definitely the answer,” Dolan said. “You want to utilize these dollars in the earlier part of the lease so that we can enjoy the benefits that come from those improvements. And they’re needed now. So, I would imagine that in the first five years you’ll see these improvements, if not sooner.”

The deal includes $435 million for these upgrades, which will come from the state, city, county and team. This will not result in new or increased taxes for residents. The plans will be reviewed and will need to be approved by the city and county councils in the coming months.

“There’s $200 million in improvements that have been allocated during this lease process,” Dolan said. “Those would go toward, as the term suggests, improvements to the ballpark. There are also moneys that the team and the public will dedicate toward maintaining and repairing what is an aging building.”

These are changes that are not only beneficial for fans, who will soon have a better experience at Progressive Field, but Dolan said it was also crucial for the success of the team.

“First and foremost, we’ve carried the weight of the occupancy cost of this building,” Dolan said. “That’s dollars that we’re allocating to the maintenance and repair of this building that going forward would’ve been an enormous burden on our ability to field a competitive team. So, being able to reallocate dollars to the team itself and the product on the field is an essential part of making this franchise successful.”