PITTSBURGH – An agreement between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh-Allegheny Sports & Exhibition Authority will result in the addition of 3,000 seats to Heinz Field for the 2015 season.
And taxpayers won’t have to pick up the bill for it.
The Steelers will increase their annual payments on the lease that runs through 2031 by $2.1 million, according to the team. That will pay for a bond that will allow the Steelers to add more seats as well as a high-definition scoreboard to the stadium that the team has played in since 2001.
The Steelers will levy a $1 surcharge on tickets starting in 2015 to help pay for the renovations, team president Art Rooney II said in a statement released by the team.
Talks between the Steelers and the SAE, which is run by the city and Allegheny County, over stadium expansion on Pittsburgh’s North Shore lasted more than a year and had been contentious.
“After a lot of work and discussion by all parties, I am thrilled that an agreement with the Pittsburgh Steelers has been reached that will allow for improvements at Heinz Field without taxpayer dollars being used,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto agreed.
“I am pleased that this project at Heinz Field is being completed without any public dollars, which are increasingly scarce,” Peduto told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Heinz Field seats just over 65,000 people, and the Steelers have sold out every home game since 1972.
“With approximately 3,000 new seats being added, we will be able to provide many of our waiting list fans the opportunity to become season ticket holders,” Rooney said in a statement.