After more than a year of discussions, the Pittsburgh Steelers will finally be making upgrades to Heinz Field.
According to Mark Belko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers and the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority have reached a deal to add 3,000 more seats and a second scoreboard to Heinz Field.
It looked like these long rumored improvements were off track, but they are now back on after the Steelers agreed to fund the entire project, ending more than a year of litigation with the stadium owner.
Under a deal announced Monday, the Steelers plan to cover the cost of the $34.5-million seat expansion and the installation of a second scoreboard at a cost of $3.3 million through ticket revenues and the sale of personal seat licenses.
Those revenues will support an annual $2.1 million lease payment to be made by the team to the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority, the Heinz Field owner, to pay off a bond issue the SEA will float to help finance the improvements. Those payments will start next year and last until the Steelers’ lease expires in 2031.
It’s big that no taxpayer money will be used to finance the upgrades.
The team also has agreed to cover any cost overruns. It will add $1 to an existing ticket surcharge paid by fans starting in 2015 to pay for future capital improvements.
“We are pleased that an agreement with the SEA has been reached that will allow for the expansion of Heinz Field in the South Plaza,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said in a statement. “With the new general reserved seats, club seats, and new high-definition scoreboard, we believe these additions will play an important part in making sure Heinz Field continues to be a state-of-the-art facility for our fans.”
The Steelers have been rumored to want to host a Super Bowl in the near future and before they even thought about doing so they needed to add some seats and upgrade many parts of the fan experience.
This is at least a start.