It’s going to take time and a whole lot of money.
And now it is Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians ownership’s time to play the stadium game. The Indians ownership’s deal with the local municipality to play in the municipal stadium is done in 2023 and apparently the negotiations to extend the agreement have started. Indians ownership wants an upgraded stadium and would like the public to kick in some money. Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert got the public to kick in money to upgrade the local arena for his National Basketball Association’s franchise. The baseball park is now 26 years old which means it is past its useful prime in the stadium game and needs some changes. The National Football League’s Cleveland Browns ownership is more than quietly hinting that there may be a need for a new Browns stadium by the end of the decade.
Neither county nor Cleveland elected officials are doing the stadium negotiations. That job falls to the Gateway Development Corporation. Technically the stadium and arena are owned by the Gateway Development Corporation. Gateway’s Board of Directors are appointed by the Ohio city and Ohio county. Gateway will be the one that will have to find money for the stadium upgrades should Indians’ ownership agree to a new stadium deal. Some of the ideas being discussed include a hike in local hotel and motel taxes and selling some of the property within the sports complex. The Indians ownership does not really have that much leverage in the talks as there really are not many open cities that qualify as Major League Baseball markets. Nashville and Portland, Oregon baseball backers want a team but Nashville has far more important issues to solve after March’s tornadoes. Arizona Diamondbacks ownership kicked the tires in Las Vegas and Vancouver. Tampa Bay Rays ownership wants to play half a home schedule in Montreal. The Cleveland talks are just beginning.