SBD/December 18, 2012/Facilities

Steelers Sue Government Agency Over Money For Stadium Expansion

Heinz Field would gain 3,000 seats in the Steelers' proposed expansion
The Steelers in a formal lawsuit filed Friday contend "that Heinz Field ranks 25th out of 31 NFL stadiums in terms of seating capacity and that temporary seating must be added for some events," according to Mark Belko of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. The team has gone to court to "force the city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority [SEA] to pay for two-thirds of the expansion." The team bases its argument "on a clause in the lease that requires the SEA to pay that much for a 'designated expansion' of no more than 10,000 seats in the south end zone." However, the SEA has "argued that the expansion must first meet the definition of a capital improvement." The team in the lawsuit "maintained that the 3,000-seat addition qualifies as a designated expansion that is automatically deemed to be a capital improvement." The Steelers in the complaint also are "seeking $5 million in reimbursement for repairs to the Heinz Field control room." The team also wants the SEA to "pay for a second scoreboard" at the stadium's north end (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 12/18). In Pittsburgh, Adam Brandolph notes the Steelers are asking the SEA to "pay the $3.65 million cost" of the new scoreboard and pay "two-thirds of the estimated $40 million cost of 3,000 seats in the south end zone." The SEA would "be on the hook for roughly" $35M if the Steelers win. The team contends the "root of the problem is that the SEA does not have enough money in a capital reserve fund to pay for the upgrades and hasn't acted to raise money for them" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 12/18).

ON ICE: In Green Bay, Richard Ryman reports the "paucity of special events at Lambeau Field irritates" the stadium's landlords. The Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District members yesterday "voiced their impatience at the Packers' reluctance to allow special events" at the stadium such as a Kenny Chesney concert held there in '11. The Packers said that it would be "unlikely in 2013 or 2014 because of expected atrium expansion." Scheduling for major events "is done about nine months in advance, so a 2013 event is increasingly unlikely" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 12/18).
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