WEB EXCLUSIVE: Get your first look inside the new Hard Rock Rocksino at Northfield Park.
CLEVELAND - Wednesday night marked the first date in what's destined to be a long term relationship between the Horseshoe Casino and the Cleveland Indians.
The first-place Tribe opened a home stretch that will see them play eight games in nine days just a few short blocks from the casino, offering the region's newest attraction a healthy supply of potential customers.
With Wednesday's Indians attendance at just at 12,092, it helped test the waters of how the two will interact leading into what's expected to be a busy weekend and one heck of a summer.
"Just imagine in the summertime when we have 30,000 to 40,000 people packed into Progressive Field and they're already here downtown," said Indians Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Bob DiBiasio.
"They'll walk through, as we have done, for the restaurants and the shops in the Gateway neighborhood, to walk an extra block to head over to the casino. I think it's a good thing for everybody," he said.
Sean Martin, of Olmsted Falls, among those in attendance on Wednesday who planned for the early night, late night double header.
"Watch the game, watch the Indians win and win some money at the casino, hopefully," he said.
His friend Shawn Weiner, of Parma, concurred. "Hopefully, the tribe wins go down the casino, win some money too."
Cathy Goudy, of Norton, told us while waiting in line to get in she's planning a whole package next week.
"We're coming up to gamble at the casino and then we have a hotel at the Ritz on the 23rd, but we're going to the Indians vs. Detroit game, which is going to be a great game and then the next day we're going to spend the night then we're going to come back into the casino the next day," she said.
When Rock Gaming's Dan Gilbert announced plans for this casino his intention all along was to limit the entertainment options in the Phase I Higbee. It's something Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman said recently has worked well for them in a similar urban setting in New Orleans.
"Most of the things we use to entertain our guests outside of gaming are provided by partners who are local business people," said Loveman adding they reached out months in advance to work with the city's sports teams, Playhouse Square and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
While the casino may help the Indians, DiBiasio said he believes the Indians will help the casino whose logo adorns the 9-foot-high right field wall at Progressive Field.
"We're the only ones who can bring that number to the downtown region, bring over two million people here in a six month span," he said. "Anything that brings a buzz and excitement to the downtown neighborhood we're all for and we think it's a win-win for everybody."
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