CLEVELAND (AP)Back as a World Series title contender, the Cleveland Guardians are moving forward with upgrades to Progressive Field.
The team revealed on Thursday delayed final plans for a ”reimagining” of its downtown home, which has aged well since opening in 1994 but is now the 11th oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball.
The Guardians have earmarked more than $200 million to remodel the upper deck, clubhouses and other areas over the next three years. The funds are part of an overall $435 million renovation project included in a new lease agreement the team signed last year through 2036.
The renovations will be done in stages and the Guardians intend to have them done by the 2025 season opener.
The ballpark’s new look will not include a sportsbook or space devoted for gambling, which became legal in Ohio on Jan. 1. The Guardians’ next-door neighbors, the Cleveland Cavaliers, opened a sportsbook inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse last week.
MLB rules currently prohibit gambling spaces within the confines of a team’s ballpark.
”We’re in the process of working through what a retail sports (gaming) option might look like here at Progressive Field as we speak,” said Brian Barren, the club’s president of business operations.
On Wednesday, the Guardians announced a multi-year partenership with bet365 to be the team’s exclusive mobile sports betting partner, but Barren said the timing was just a coincidence with the renovations being announced.
After a name change before last season, the Guardians went 92-70 in 2022, ran away with the AL Central and pushed the New York Yankees to five games in the Division Series before being eliminated – with the majors’ youngest team.
While there have been substantial renovations in the past at the ballpark, most recently before the 2016 season, the clubhouses have not been touched since they opened 28 years ago.
Chris Antonetti, the Guardians president of baseball operations, said the clubhouse refurbishment to training areas, kitchen facilities and other elements is long overdue and will allow the team to compete at the highest level
”I’m hopeful that when our players and staff walk into the new facility they will feel excited and energized about the additional resources they have to help fuel their success as individuals and as a team,” he said.
Antonetti said the Guardians decided not to switch the home dugout from the third- to first-base side after considering the move.
Based on favorable feedback the team received after its most recent remodel, the Guardians will create more social spaces inside the ballpark to cater to fans looking for an experience beyond watching the game.
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