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Report of lease deal and possible minority owner investment would be big boost to Indians and city

A new lease deal would signify the Indians would be staying at Progressive Field for years to come according to business expert.
Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 6:22 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Indians lease at Progressive Field runs for 2 more full seasons, through 2023, but The Athletic, in a report released on Monday, is reporting that the Indians, Gateway, and the city of Cleveland are close to an agreement on a new lease that would keep the Indians in Cleveland for the long term.

The Athletic also reported that Paul Dolan, the Chairman, and CEO of the organization and son of owner Larry Dolan, has assured team employees that the Indians franchise will not be moving.

Michael Goldberg is the Executive Director of the Veale Institute of Entrepreneurship at the Case Western Reserve Weatherhead School of Management and sees a new lease as closing the window of opportunity for the ball club to move.

“There is such a close identification in having major league franchises and having baseball here and sort of how we feel about being Clevelanders that I really think it is tied economically and it’s tied to the passion we have to region,” Goldberg said.

Having a major league baseball team playing downtown 81 days a year is an enormous boost for the economy but it’s not just the easily identifiable economics, the cash registers ringing in crowded bars and restaurants, the energy baseball brings to the city cannot be discounted

Cleveland, as a major league city, is a member of an elite club.

“I think the brand association with being considered a major league city is in this case incredibly important and many cities that don’t have it are envious,” Goldberg said.

The Athletic also reported that the Indians may be close to bringing in a minority investor.

Goldberg, like many, is impressed with the Indians from an operational standpoint from a business and baseball standpoint.

Yet, there is little question a minority investor may help increase the payroll, which has become a major issue with fans.

“There is this dynamic between the underlying value of the franchise becoming incredibly valuable but year to year the challenge of payroll, of making this work in the near term,” Goldberg said.

The hope being a minority investor would be able to create an opportunity for the Indians to invest a bit more in the payroll.

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