Progressive Field is a major league ballpark located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, and home to Cleveland’s professional baseball team for more than 20 years. While most would agree that the stadium has aged gracefully, the organization wanted to reimagine their ballpark experience to attract a new generation of fans and compete with the convenience of high-definition television for live sports games.
The new design has much more depth and structure. It really freshened up our lower concourse, giving our spaces more personality.
Dennis Lehman, EVP
The Cleveland Indians
Cleveland’s Progressive Field delivers tradition and nostalgia to millions of loyal fans, but like many sports facilities, it was inherently challenging to navigate. They are circular in shape, and walking around the concourses can cause people to get disoriented when looking for their seats.
Fan comfort and engagement were top objectives for the wayfinding strategy. The organization recognized that the new generation of fans wanted to experience baseball in a more social way. They not only wanted people to find their seats easily but also be drawn to new revenue-generating amenities, including shops, restaurants, gathering spaces, and fan experiences throughout the ballpark.
When our team began the Wayfinding Analysis, we uncovered several challenges:
- The existing signs throughout the ballpark provided too much information and pointed fans to every possible amenity from almost every point.
- Areas of the ballpark were oriented by street names not visible from inside the stadium. While this helped with egress, it meant nothing to people once they were inside the ballpark trying to find their seats.
- The stadium’s massive crowds add additional anxiety to the experience, causing people to get frazzled and frustrated, leaving them with a bad experience even before the first pitch.
The fan journey was at the heart of Guide Studio’s wayfinding and messaging recommendations. Before considering signage design and messaging, Guide explored fans’ experience throughout various stages of their visit: Arrival/Orientation: Where am I? Where do I enter the ballpark? Critical Information: Where’s my seat? Experience Enhancers/Decision points: What’s Around Me?
- “Districting” helped organize the stadium to help fans orient themselves using the ballfield. Right Field, Left Field, Center Field, Home Plate Districts were created to support a quick and intuitive interpretation of the ballpark when fans arrive at the stadium and are trying to locate their seats.
- The Sign Program Design called for a new look and feel that evoked a mix of Cleveland’s past and present. The organization chose a design that reflected the team’s recognizable navy, red and grey color palette with steel beams and galvanized metals that evoke the city’s industrial roots.
- The ballpark renovation was executed over several seasons. Guide developed a comprehensive Wayfinding and Sign Plan that could be rolled with each renovation phase without disrupting the fan’s experience and keeping game-day navigation intact.
Making game-changing enhancements to the stadium is crucial when trying to increase attendance and engagement, but what’s the point if your fans cannot figure out how to access all of the cool new amenities and areas you have to offer? Wayfinding solves that problem, and the ball club is experiencing no shortage of benefits. More engaged fan experiences will continue to yield better returns for the team. Most importantly, these positive experiences are amplifying the culture of dedicated fans who rally together behind the team – in good times and in bad – today and in the years to come.
Weber Murphy Fox Architects
Brilliant Electric Sign Company