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Pittsburgh Pirates add ticket surcharge for PNC Park improvements

Major League Baseball (MLB)’s Pittsburgh Pirates are set to charge fans an additional $1 ticket surcharge to fund a major expansion of the left field scoreboard at PNC Park.

The local Sports and Exhibition Authority (SEA) – which owns and leases PNC Park – agreed the new surcharge at a meeting last week, according to a report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The surcharge will come into effect from November 1.

Fans will have to pay the additional $1 on top of a 5% ticket surcharge already being paid by attendees to Pirates games and other major events at the venue. The $1 surcharge will also be included for tickets to other events at the ballpark. It is hoped the surcharge will generate roughly $2m ($1.7m/€2m) a year, depending on attendance.

This money will be deposited into a capital reserve fund and will be used to develop the park and make improvements.

The SEA has said that the biggest project will be the expansion of the left field scoreboard, which is set to be increased from 82 feet to 142 feet. The Pirates also intend to replace and expand the main scoreboard in time for the 2023 season.

The main scoreboard will cost around $3.2m and is funded by the existing surcharge, while the expansion is expected to cost $2.3m, which will be paid for by the new additional $1 surcharge.

Roughly $4.8m worth of improvements at PNC Park will be financed through the new surcharge.

Other changes include video production and sound system enhancements. This includes replacing or adding ribbon boards, converting static signs, and changing a sign behind the home plate to LED.

The SEA board has already authorised $6.5m in reimbursements from the capital reserve to fund replacements of sound and video production equipment.

The Pirates’ lease deal with the SEA sees its $100,000 yearly base rent and additional $250,000 from current ticket surcharge revenue go into the ballpark’s capital reserve fund.

Image: Britt Reints/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size