Tenant: Pittsburgh Pirates (NL)
Opened: March 31, 2001 (exhibition against the New York Mets)
First regular season game: April 9, 2001 (8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds)
Construction began: April 8, 1999
Capacity: 38,365 (baseball only)
Architect: HOK Sport (Kansas City) and L.D. Astorino & Associates (Pittsburgh)
Construction: Dick Corporation (Pittsbugh) and Barton Malow (Baltimore)
Owner: City of Pittsburgh Sports & Exhibition Authority
Cost: $262 million ($237 million for construction, $25 million for site acquisition)
Lease: 25 year lease is probable
Pittsburgh Pirates tickets:
Location: On the north shore of the Allegheny River between the Fort Duquesne and Roberto Clemente (6th Street) bridges. Left field (E), Federal Street; 3rd base (N), East General Robinson Street; 1st base (W), East Stadium Drive; right field (S), River Avenue and North Shore Drive.
Dimensions: Left field foul pole: 325 feet; LF power alley: 386 feet; left-center: 389 feet; deep left-center field: 410 feet; center field: 399 feet; RF power alley: 375 feet; right field foul pole: 320 feet; backstop: 52 feet.
Fences: Left field: 6 feet; left-center and center field: 10 feet; right field: 21 feet.
Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy established the Forbes Field II Task Force in 1995 to study various issues relating to the building of a new ballpark in Pittsburgh. It was made up of 29 business and political leaders in the Pittsburgh region, and received testimony from a number of experts and interested parties, including Kevin McClatchy, HOK Sport and the Society of American Baseball Research. Their final report was issued on June 25, 1996, and settled on the so-called "North Side" site, one block from Three Rivers Stadium, as the best choice for a location for the new ballpark.
From its north side site, the park provides a dramatic sweeping view of downtown Pittsburgh. The Allegheny River and Roberto Clemente (6th Street) Bridge also provide prominent landmarks in the ballpark vista. The steel structure, stone front and pilasters, dramatic masonry arches along the homeplate entryway, and a steel roof evoke memories of Forbes Field. The archways lead to a public arcade, open year round, that features shops, restaurants, and a Pirates Hall of Fame. The ballpark fits snuggly into the exisiting city grid, similar to classic urban parks like Wrigley and Fenway.
The park is the smallest in the majors next to Fenway Park (which may be replaced soon). With 38,127 seats, each seat provides intimate views of the field. Seats behind home plate are only be 50 feet from the batter's box. Seats down the baselines are only 45 feet from 1st and 3rd base. There are 540 Field Club seats behind home plate and between the dugouts with access to a private lounge. The vast majority of the seats are on the field level (26,000 of the 38,000). The upper deck (10,400 seats) is divided into 2,260 club seats (wider seats, wider aisles, convenient cup holders, plus 4 party suites for 25-50 fans each) and 8,140 regular upper deck seats. 4,790 seats are Outfield Bleachers (in both left and right fields). A terraced picnic area sits right of center. Additionally, there are about 450 seats in center field. 69 luxury suites are tucked underneath the second deck.
PNC Park Financing:
- Part of an $803M package which funded PNC Park, a new Steelers Stadium, retired the debt on Three Rivers Stadium and also razed the stadium, expanded the Convention Center, and constructed a new Pittsburgh Development Center.
- The Regional Asset District (RAD) contributes $13.4M annually to finance $170M in bonds toward the project.
- The county hotel tax contributes $8M annually to finance $99M in bonds.
- A 5% surcharge on Pirates and Steelers tickets raises $3M annually to finance $22M in bonds.
- A 1% wage tax is levied on players who do not live in the city, and will add $7M to the project.
- $300M in matching funds from the state.
- $36M in interest earnings.
- $28M in federal infrastructure improvements.
- $11M in parking revenue from leasing the convention center garage.
- $45M from a Pittsburgh Investment Capital fund.
- $85M from the Pirates and Steelers.
- The Pirates are expected to cover operating costs (utilities and maintenance) as long as the team receives the revenues from concessions and advertising.
- The Steelers may be asked to increase their commitment to the project, which might be filled by Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs).
On August 6, 1998, Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank Corp. announced that it had purchased the right to name the new Pirates ballpark "PNC Park" when it opens in 2001. Under the deal, PNC Bank, a financial services company, will pay approximately $1.5 million a year through the 2020 baseball season.
Other PNC Park facts:
- The first ballpark with a two-deck design to be built in the United States since Milwaukee's County Stadium was completed in 1953. The highest seat is just 88 feet from the field.
- There is a ballpark entrance off of the Roberto Clemente (6th Street) Bridge that leads into the ballpark's main concourse.
- A picnic area for up to 300 fans is on top of the right field stands.
- A Brew Pub is included in Left Field with a 500-person party deck on the roof which offers views of the field and of the city.
- An outside terrace (first base side) features the "Tastes of Pittsburgh", a multi-ethnic cuisine salute to the diversified neighborhoods and heritage of the city.
- Fans arriving by riverboat are greeted with live music from a riverfront stage.
- The light towers in this new park are also reminiscent of Forbes Field and are unique from other recent ballparks.
- Two garages across General Robinson Street from the ballpark will hold 2,000-3,000 cars for season ticket holders.
- Kasota stone, a warm, ochre Minnesota limestone, is used to face the exterior of the ballpark.
PNC Park Trivia:
- Site of the 2006 All-Star game.
- Hall of Famer Willie Stargell died only hours before the Pirates officially opened PNC Park on April 9, 2001.
- Sean Casey of the Cincinnati Reds, a Pittsburgh native, got the first official hit here on April 9, 2001. It was a two-run homer in the top of the first that also accounted for the first two RBIs at the ballpark. Three days earlier, Casey got the first official hit ever at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
- The section of red brick wall from Forbes Field over which Bill Mazeroski homered to win the 1960 World Series against the New York Yankees is displayed along the river walk behind PNC Park.
More on PNC Park:
Recommended Reading (bibliography):
- Fodor's Baseball Vacations, 3rd Edition: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballparks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
- The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
- Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
- Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
- The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic (Revised Edition) by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
- Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
- Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit (2nd Edition) by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
- Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
- Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.
115 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
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Aerial view of PNC Park and downtown Pittsburgh © 2001 by Mike Smith.
View of PNC Park and the Pittsburgh skyline © 2001 by Bob Raida.
View of PNC Park from the Allegheny River © 2001 by Bob Raida.
View of PNC Park's third base stands and scoreboard © 2001 by Bob Raida.
View of PNC Park's first base stands © 2001 by Bob Raida.
Text on this page was contributed by Glenn E. Gearhard and Ron Schuler. Special thanks to Mitchell Daszewski.
Updated April 2009
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