Steelers to add 3,000 seats at Heinz Field, plus a second scoreboard on North end
Steelers to add 3,000 seats at Heinz Field
September 14, 2012 12:28 am
By Mark Belko / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
After months of talks, the Steelers and local political leaders have negotiated the framework of a deal to finance the construction of an additional 3,000 seats at Heinz Field.
The expansion would be funded by a $1 increase in an existing surcharge on Steelers tickets and a new parking surcharge of roughly $2 to $3 at lots around Heinz Field during home games under the "agreement in concept."
Money raised from the surcharges would support a bond issue, estimated at $20 million, to be floated by the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority, the stadium owner, to finance its share of the construction, projected at $38 million to $39 million.
The rest of the money would come from the Steelers and other private sources. The team likely will sell personal seat licenses -- a fee a fan pays for the right to buy season tickets -- to fund part of its share. The Steelers raised an estimated $40 million through the sale of such licenses before Heinz Field opened in 2001 and used that money toward their $123 million share of the stadium's $281 million cost.
An additional quirk in the deal involves the Allegheny Regional Asset District, which apparently will serve as the guarantor of the bonds, although it has yet to be presented with a formal proposal. No RAD money would be used to finance any part of the construction.
RAD currently provides $13.4 million a year to pay off the debt on Heinz Field, PNC Park and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
The Steelers have been negotiating with the SEA, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald for much of the year over how to pay for the construction of the seats, which would be built in the south end zone near the scoreboard.
While Mr. Fitzgerald said Thursday that he did not know the exact terms of the proposed agreement, he said the details, as described to him by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, were "in the ballpark."
"We're moving forward on this. There have been some significant talks throughout the summer regarding the Steelers' desire to add the seats and an additional scoreboard, and we've been working with them to find a solution," he said.
"It will be a good thing. It will add to the vitality of the region and the North Shore and it will allow more people to participate in the excitement of the Steelers' success."
SEA executive director Mary Conturo declined comment. Steelers officials were unavailable for comment.
Under the team's lease at Heinz Field, the SEA is obligated to pay two-thirds of the cost for a "designated expansion" involving no more than 10,000 seats in the south end zone. The team is responsible for one-third of the cost.
The existing ticket surcharge, up to $3 on a Steelers ticket, raises more than $1.5 million a year. The money goes into a capital reserve fund used to finance repairs and improvements at the stadium. Under the proposed funding package, some of that money also may be used to help pay for the seats.
Officials are hoping to finalize a deal within the next month in order to start construction after the current season. The Steelers want to have the new seats in place by next season.
They have yet to finalize the pricing for the tickets. The seats will be marketed first to those on the lengthy waiting list for season tickets. Heinz Field currently holds 65,050 people and routinely sells out for home games.
As part of the new project, the Steelers plan to raise the plaza at the south end of the stadium, build a club level and revise the entry gates. They also intend to add a new scoreboard at the north end so fans in the new seats can see replays and other material during games.
It will mark the second expansion since Heinz Field opened. The team added more than 700 club seats in the north end zone before the 2006 season.
WooHoo!! I'll be getting my season tickets then!!!! Better start saving now...
6- Time Super Bowl Champions......
IX X XIII XIV XL XLIII
2012 MNF Executive Champion
Another interesting tidbit about Heinz Field this year...since the team announced this summer that they were switching from Coke products to Pepsi products at Heinz, that means the Coca-Cola Great Hall is no more. They needed to find a new sponsor, and I just found out that it will now be the FedEx Great Hall. Jigawatts will not be allowed inside.
I also found out that the light rail extension to Heinz is complete, and folks will be able to ride it from Downtown to Heinz for free on gamedays. I always park downtown in the $5-$10 lots and walk over the Clemente Bridge past PNC on my way to Heinz as opposed to paying $30+ on the North Shore...now I can take a free train ride over instead...I'll have to try it out, perhaps this weekend.
Last edited by RuthlessBurgher; 09-14-2012 at 07:49 PM.
Those cheap dowtown $5-$10 lots are probably going to triple now that the rail is complete.
Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
I can't fault the Steelers for not wanting to be associated with anything brown.
Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
BTW, I'll be lurking somewhere on the north side Sunday.
Not sure if I'll be parked in SN1s lot or somewhere else, but I'll probably mingle my way over there sometime during the day.
I'm jealous of all you guys getting to start the season off at the game. Should be a fun weekend.
The good in this for shlubs like me is more seats mean it should be easier to get cheaper tickets when we can get in town for a game.
Anyone see any potential pics of what the seats might look like? Wonder if it will change the sight lines or kicking dynamics in any way?
does anyone know where they are at regarding the season ticket waiting list?
can you actually call or write the steelers ticket office and find out where you are in relation to getting then?
I think you can call them with your account information and they can tell you. All I know is when I signed
Originally Posted by squidkid
up over five years ago I got a letter saying that there's about 32,000 people in front of me.
Originally Posted by Jigawatts
its been about 10 years for me. i dont remember getting any account info, just that my name was added.