The Indianapolis Indians this week signed a four-year extension to remain the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates through 2020.
“The Pirates have one of the best player development programs in professional baseball and we appreciate the relationship between our two organizations,” Indians vice president Cal Burleson said in written remarks. “In addition to providing us with talented players and leadership, Pittsburgh has established a very positive culture throughout their organization that focuses on constant improvement, playing the game the right way, and being good role models in the community.”
The Indians, who have been an affiliate for the Pirates since 2005, have been on an attendance tear in recent years.
In 2015, the Indians set a Victory Field attendance record by drawing 662,536 fans, breaking 2014’s mark by nearly 2,000 fans. The 2013 total, 637,579, was the highest in Minor League Baseball.
The Pirates reached the postseason this season and the Indians followed suit, finishing in a tie for the International League’s best record (83-61). The Indians fell a game short of winning the Governors’ Cup, losing to Columbus in a decisive fifth game.
Meanwhile, the Pirates went 98-64 in the regular season before being eliminated by the Chicago Cubs in a one-game wild card playoff game
“I could not be more pleased that we have extended our relationship with the Indians through the 2020 season,” said Pirates Director of Player Development Larry Broadway. “Indianapolis is a wonderful community, Victory Field is an outstanding ballpark and the entire Indians' staff is committed to making their operation the best in baseball.”
Prior to being affiliated with the Pirates, the Indians were affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers from 2000 to 2004, the Cincinnati Reds from 1993 to 1999 and the Montreal Expos from 1984 to 1992. The clubs also had affiliations of various lengths with the Reds, Pirates, Boston Braves, Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox from 1939 to 1983.
Earlier this month, the city’s Capital Improvement Board unanimously approved a lease deal that will keep the Indianapolis Indians playing at Victory Field for the next 20 years.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Indians will pay no rent, but will continue to cover all maintenance, repairs and operational expenses.
Under the former 20-year lease deal, the Indians paid $500,000 annually to lease the 14-acre venue on the west edge of downtown and an additional $50,000 annually as part of a ballpark improvement fund.
Under the new deal, the CIB agreed to invest $6 million over the first four years of the new lease deal to improve Victory Field.
The new lease begins April 1, 2016, just a few months before the stadium turns 20 years old.