05/02/12 6:40 PM ET
Tribe unveils Indians Kids Clubhouse
Facility, measuring 10,000 square feet, caters to youngest fans
By Zack Meisel / MLB.com
So after doing their homework during the offseason, the Indians unveiled at Progressive Field on Wednesday a 10,000-square-foot wonderland called the Indians Kids Clubhouse.
"We did fan forums, we did market research, we did surveys," said Bob DiBiasio, senior vice president of public affairs. "We asked, 'What do you truly want to make your visit the total fan experience?'
"One of the things we heard loudly and clearly was that our fans with young families loved our Kids Land area, but they mentioned that they had to watch the game on a TV monitor, so you get a disconnect from why we're here."
The Indians eliminated Kids Land, which was buried on the main concourse in the right-field corner. The new area is on the mezzanine level, and stretches from right field toward first base. Some suites were removed to construct the indoor portion of the Kids Clubhouse, which has large windows so adults don't have to miss the game as children frolic.
"We sat and thought about where we could create an area where [adults] could watch the game live," DiBiasio said, "while their little ones still have an opportunity to burn off some of that energy they have."
The Indians Kids Clubhouse is split into two sections. The 4,000-square-foot indoor space called The Rookie Suite is geared toward children 6 and younger and is equipped with a playground, an arts-and-crafts station and a climbing wall.
The 6,000-square-foot outdoor area, The Slugger's Sandlot, is designed for children 7 and older. Kids can play Wiffle ball, test their swing in a batting cage, practice sliding into a base, harness their fastball in a speed-pitch game and master their video-game skills on five PlayStation 3 consoles.
The new setup also includes concession stands that cater to kids, with such items as juice boxes, Smucker's Uncrustables (peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches), fruit cups and chocolate milk.
The Indians Kids Clubhouse will open its doors for Sunday's contest against the Rangers and stay open for the remainder of the home schedule.
"We hope this welcoming area becomes an extension of the memorable experiences families look forward to when coming to Progressive Field," said Sanaa Julien, director of marketing.