Steelers In Court Fight With SEA Over Responsibility For Additional Heinz Field Seats
The Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority in court yesterday continued “its battle against the Steelers over the cost of installing 3,000 more seats at Heinz Field,” according to Mark Belko of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. The SEA “disputed the team's contention that the authority is obligated to pay two-thirds of the cost for the expansion, arguing that the project doesn't meet the definition of a capital improvement under the Steelers' lease.” SEA attorney Walter DeForest said that to be defined as an expansion, the “addition or modification must have been installed in at least half” of all NFL stadiums with “at least 25 percent of the cost being paid for by federal, state or local governments.” The Steelers have “upped the ante in the battle, also demanding to be reimbursed $5 million for installing a new control room at the stadium.” In addition, the team wants the SEA to pay the full $3.65M cost of "adding a new scoreboard to the north side of Heinz Field.” DeForest “argued the SEA's obligations regarding the control room rest on the project being considered a capital improvement or repair.” He said that “in the SEA's judgment, it is neither.” Steelers attorney Kevin Lucas said that the team “disagreed with the SEA's interpretation of the lease and will contest it in court.” The bid to add 3,000 seats is estimated at $40M and “ended up in court after a deal to finance it fell apart, prompting the Steelers to file a notice of their intent to sue” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 11/20). In Pittsburgh, Jeremy Boren wrote, "Not much has gone smoothly for the Pittsburgh Steelers this season." The team’s proposal to expand Heinz Field "is no exception." Lucas: “We believe the obligations of the SEA are clear in the lease and the amounts of money that are being requested are required by the lease” (TRIBLIVE.com, 11/19).