SBD/July 19, 2011/Franchises

Pirates' Success Results In Increased Ticket Sales, National Attention

Pirates attendance at PNC Park up 17% compared to same point last season

The Pirates last night “took a winning record into their first home stand since the All-Star break, threatening to end the streak of 18 consecutive losing seasons,” and fans “are responding by packing games at PNC Park as the Bucs take on division rivals and vie for first place,” according to Alex Nixon of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. Pirates fans are "filling the seats at PNC Park.” Through the first 45 home games this season, “attendance was up 17 percent compared with the same point last year." To date, the Pirates have drawn “more than 1 million people." In addition, TV ratings "have spiked at Root Sports Pittsburgh," up 36% this season compared to the same period in '10. Root Sports Senior VP & GM Shawn McClintock said, “The Pirates’ success on the field has translated to a significant increase in the TV game ratings on Root Sports this season.” Pittsburgh sports merchandise retailers also are having “a winning season” as a result of the Pirates' success. Yinzers in the Burgh Owner Jim Coen said that sales at his sports merchandise store this summer are “double or triple what they were last year, depending on the week.” Coen: “I’ve had to pull Penguins stuff to make room for the Pirates for the first time.” Linda Meyer, who owns three Hometowne Sports stores in the Pittsburgh region, said that sales “increased 40 percent to 45 percent this year … because of renewed interest in Pirates merchandise" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 7/19). USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale notes Pirates fans “have gotten caught up in the fervor.” Pirates P Joel Hanrahan said, “Baseball is alive again in Pittsburgh. The real baseball fans have been sitting at home, cussing out their TV, cussing out the Pirates. Now, they don’t feel embarrassed. They can come out to our games. Before, fans would come to our games and all you’d see is Steeler shirts and Penguins hats. Now, fans are all wearing Pirates hats and Pirates shirts.” The Pirates have had the “second-largest attendance increase in the NL this season, drawing 158,469 more fans than a year ago.” The team also has had 10 sellouts this season (USA TODAY, 7/19).

GARNERING NATIONAL ATTENTION: In Pittsburgh, Rob Biertempfel reports ESPN has decided to broadcast next Monday's Pirates-Braves game from Turner Field, and the Pirates "are under consideration to appear later this season" on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" and the Fox Sports' "Saturday Game of the Week." The Pirates have not appeared on an ESPN Sunday night telecast since '02, and team President Frank Coonelly said, "I'd love to see that happen. We've been waiting for it for a long time" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 7/19).

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