The modernization of Progressive Field will continue into 2016. As a follow up to the popular Right Field District renovation at the home of the Cleveland Indians (chronicled in the current Summer Issue of SEAT Magazine), the Tribe is expanding these concepts around the rest of the ballpark.
Enhancements for next season include improved concessions throughout the main concourse with additional local food and beverage offerings, increased branding to celebrate the team’s history and heritage, as well as further opening of the concourse in multiple areas, including directly behind home plate where a new club space will be installed.
Season Ticket Holder Lounge
The jewel of phase two is the aforementioned season ticket holder lounge behind home plate. The lounge will include a number of design elements reminiscent of phase one’s The Corner, the two-story bar located adjacent to the right field foul pole. The look of the new space will be dominated by brick, wood, and steel, providing the same industrial feel as in The Corner.
The new club, however, will not be accessible to all ticket holders as The Corner is, but will exclusively cater to season ticket holder demographics in the diamond box and field box sections. Also differing from The Corner, food and beverage will be available in the season ticket holder lounge.
“We did quite a bit of research with our season ticket holders to try and understand what they would be looking for in a club like this,” says Andrew Miller, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Business Analytics, for the Indians. “What we found was that they’re looking for food and beverage, they’re looking for an opportunity to get food before the game, use the club as a place to eat, then they’re going to go back to their seats. It gives them a place that’s weather-protected, that has a more exclusive feel, and has more food and beverage options than what’s available in the main concourse.”
For those fans wanting to visit the lounge and enjoy F&B during the game, drink rails and seating facing the field of play will also be installed.
The Indians are making room for the season ticket holder lounge on the main concourse by removing a small number of seats, informally known as the jury boxes. These clusters of seats in the infield lower box sections are currently under an overhang on the periphery of the main concourse across an aisle from the rest of the lower bowl.
“The season ticket holder lounge itself will essentially be between the lower bowl and the main concourse,” explains Miller.
Expanding Hometown Concessions
The Indians and their foodservice partner, Delaware North Sportservice, are also extending the local F&B themes in the highly successful Neighborhoods area of right field to other parts of the ballpark.
Phase two renovations will again open up the concourse, this time behind third base, and foodservice kiosks, similar in structure to what’s in right field, will wrap around the columns in the middle of the concourse.
The design theme for this iteration of kiosks will pay homage to the team’s history at League Park, where the Cleveland Indians first called home in 1901.
In addition to ballpark classics, the Indians and Delaware North Sportservice are working towards serving fare from new local restaurant partners in addition to those found in the Neighborhoods. Specific vendors could not be disclosed at this time.
“[Fans] will find unique concepts that they wouldn’t normally find within a ballpark,” Miller says. “Our goal is to have people throughout the ballpark be able to find all of those different types of food concepts that they enjoy.”
A small number of suites will also be renovated behind home plate as part of phase two, most notably the transformation of a few single suites into doubles, which will be dispersed among the existing inventory on the suite levels.
The double suites will remain lease products, and are targeted for a select group of longtime suite customers. In total, ten suites will see a facelift before the first pitch of 2016, six doubles and four singles.
“We have been continually trying to understand how to best use our suite capacity,” explains Miller. “And through a number of focus groups with suite holders, especially in the areas behind home plate, we tried to understand what their usage is, what they want in a suite, and if a double-wide would be preferable to their current suite.”
Theme of Connectivity
The overarching principles of both renovation phases at Progressive Field are ones of openness and connectivity, evident in phase two by the concourse removals necessary to install the new foodservice kiosks behind third base and the season ticket holder lounge behind home plate.
“We found throughout the research that led to a lot of these changes that people want more connection to the field, and they want to see, feel, and hear what’s going on, even if they’re on the main concourse,” Miller says. “The way that the ballpark was originally designed, there was a lot of infrastructure between the main concourse and the field, so we’re trying to open up a lot of that for people.”
The construction timeline will be similar to last year. As soon as the season ends, demolition and construction will begin with completion set for Opening Day 2016. Also similar to phase one, phase two will be a joint investment between the Indians and Delaware North. Costs could not be disclosed at this time.