Indians get 15-year lease agreement, ending relocation talk

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians have agreed to a 15-year lease extension at Progressive Field, keeping them at their downtown ballpark through 2036 and ending speculation the franchise would relocate.

The agreement, which was announced Thursday and still needs legislative approval, includes two additional five-year options that could make it a 25-year deal through 2046.

Also, the Indians are partnering with the city, Cuyahoga County and state to spend $435 million in renovations on the ballpark, which opened in 1994.

“This is an investment in Cleveland’s future,” Mayor Frank G. Jackson said.

The club has been in talks with the city and county, which owns the 35,000-seat stadium, on extending the lease for several months. The current lease is scheduled to expire following the 2023 season.

Under the agreement, the Indians will pay $10.2 million over the length of the lease on stadium repairs and upgrades. The city and county will pitch in $8 million per year and the state will provide $2 million in aid annually

“I think this is a good victory for everyone,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said.

The extension comes on the heels of the Indians changing their name to Guardians at the end of this season.

Owner Paul Dolan had previously stated his commitment to Cleveland. However, the potential of the lease ending along with a shriveled team payroll, led to conjecture the club might look to move.

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