CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians made a big announcement Friday that had nothing to do with baseball.
Progressive Field will play host July 18 to a collection of country superstars including Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert and Florida Georgia Line.
As the sin tax campaign prepares to get rolling, the country concert can launch a discussion of whether Cleveland and Northeast Ohio are getting full value from their sports facilities.
The Indians are making a conscious effort to bring more nonbaseball activity to Progressive Field.
"It's exposing new people to the facility. It's not just our asset. It's a community asset. We have to look for more ways to maximize and take advantage of this great facility," said Curtis Danburg, Indians communications director.
Some efforts don't connect. SnowDays events from past winters have melted away.
The team hopes to make money from the concert, but other considerations are in the mix. Past concerts at Jacobs Field, then Progressive, were promoted by the Indians. LiveNation will handle arrangements for this one.
Progressive Field, the Q and FirstEnergy Stadium host 300-plus events a year. Most are athletic contests.
But about 40 percent are not.
The Q doubles as a concert hall. As the Browns launch improvements on FirstEnergy Stadium, the team is declaring an intention to use the facility for more than 10 games per year.
Browns President Alec Scheiner said, "We are currently speaking with various sports and entertainment agencies to evaluate hosting additional events at FirstEnergy Stadium after the ongoing renovation project. Once complete, both the city of Cleveland and the Browns will have a first-class facility that will excite and attract premier organizations and presenters, and it will ultimately allow us to further showcase our great stadium and city."
Sports and nonsports stadium events bring 4 million visitors and potential customers downtown each year.
Sin tax promoters will argue that continuing the existing tax on cigarettes and alcohol will keep the facilities in shape to host a variety of events.