SBD/June 14, 2013/Facilities

Steelers At Odds With Local Government Over Funding For Heinz Field Upgrades

Attorneys for the Steelers and the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority "disagreed Thursday over which entity is responsible for paying for 3,000 additional seats at Heinz Field," according to Adam Brandolph of the PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW. Their arguments hinged on two paragraphs in the team's lease of Heinz Field from the SEA that talk about capital improvements." Steelers attorney Arthur Stroyd Jr. said that the seating upgrade to the south end of the stadium "should be considered a capital improvement, and the SEA should be forced to pay two-thirds of the cost," or roughly $20M. SEA attorney Walter DeForest contended that the upgrade is "a 'modification' of the stadium and does not meet the lease's definition of a capital improvement." The SEA wants the Steelers "to foot the entire cost of the upgrades." The seating issue is "part of a larger disagreement over upgrades at the 12-year-old stadium." The Steelers also want to "add a scoreboard to the north end zone and be repaid for refurbishing its audio-visual control room." The total cost of the upgrades "has been estimated at about" $40M (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 6/14). In Pittsburgh, Mark Belko notes the Steelers "took the dispute to court after a deal to finance the stadium fell apart." The proposed agreement would have "funded the extra seats through a $1 increase in an existing surcharge on Steelers tickets and a new parking surcharge of $2 to $3 at lost around Heinz Field during home games." Team officials hoped to have the new south endzone seats "in place before the start of next season, but they have since given up on that idea because of the dispute over the financing" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/14).
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