Editorial: Do the Pittsburgh Pirates really need a new scoreboard?
Apparently, the Pittsburgh Pirates decided to save the Steelers from all the sports fan outrage last week.
Of course, the football team began with the announcement on July 11 that Heinz Field was changing its name to Acrisure Stadium, selling the naming rights to a Michigan-based financial and technology insurance company that hardly anyone in the south knows. -western Pennsylvania no one knew existed.
With all the memes and social media circulating and even a petition to change the name, it looked like the Pirates were in the rare position of being the most popular sports team on the river.
Until Friday. That’s when the baseball team decided to get in on the game with a little ad of their own.
The team and the Sports and Exhibition Authority have announced that PNC Park will be getting a new, more high-tech scoreboard.
If you’ve ever bought a new flat screen TV or upgraded your computer screen or even gotten the latest phone with the best graphics, you know that this kind of technology is definitely an upgrade. It is also rarely cheap.
So it makes sense that the team and authority would pay for the upgrade.
But then they mentioned the supplement. It will cost fans an extra $1 per seat to pay for the scoreboard.
Companies have long built the cost of upgrades and capital investments into the price of the product. It’s not new. Breaking it all down into surcharges so customers see increased results is the kind of thing you associate more with airfares and new cars than baseball tickets.
The cost is expected to be spread over the rest of the team’s lease – until 2030. This begs the question of whether the team plans to do anything to increase the number of butts in the seats to help pay it back. Or maybe this ship has sailed before.
The Pirates are solidly in the middle of the pack in National League Central. They have their typical losing record – one that even the faithful have come to expect. That’s probably why they’re at rock bottom when it comes to attendance. Only Tampa Bay, Miami and Oakland gather fewer people in the stands.
Pittsburgh people don’t go to games. The park has a capacity of more than 38,000, but average attendance is only about 36% of that, according to information from Major League Baseball.
Pirates management started the season by playing the latest features with a bang. Giant bobbleheads in the children’s playground. An assortment of new food options. A gallery of team history in the Picnic Park. An announcement ahead of the home opener trumpeted all the reasons you should come to the ballpark — including the silence on baseball.
Maybe the team could save the extra $1 since the fans don’t really show up anyway and borrow the big ketchup bottle dash from the Steelers instead.