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Pirates unveil ticket prices

Most seats will cost more at PNC Park

Thursday, October 12, 2000

By Chuck Finder, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Your Pirates ticket prices went up, as expected.

They went up, for the most part, to $25 and $23 seats in PNC Park from $20 seats in Three Rivers Stadium.

They went up anywhere from 15 percent (for outfield line seats) to 25 percent (for baseline boxes) to 75 percent (for prime dugout boxes) to 160 percent (for what used to be general-admission, first-level outfield seats), but they also went down 10 percent in one area (for second-level right and left fields).

Yet the Pirates' front-office folks want to remind you: The seat locations went down in PNC Park, closer to the field, and the seats themselves went cozy on you, often padded and wider. And the club already charged some of Major League Baseball's lowest ticket prices in their old home.

"It's not an exact science, but based on the value that we think will be there and based on other ballparks of comparable size, it's very consistent," Pirates executive vice president and CEO Dick Freeman said last night, shortly after the new prices were announced. "In fact, it's maybe a little on the low side. We're comfortable with where we are.

"This is kind of our first step."

Season-ticket holders should expect to receive the 2001 prices and their prospective seat locations in the mail starting Friday. You also can check out the PNC Park seating chart online at www.Pirateball.com/PNCPark/seatingchart.html for a price and proximity comparison. The most expensive seat in the house is $35, of which there are only 899, and the least expensive is $9, of which there are 5,414.

"Thirty-five bucks, huh?" said Jimmy Falcone of Greensburg, referring to a seat comparable to his season-ticket roost behind the Pirates' dugout the past 14 years. "I'm still a little surprised. That's the same price as the club-level seats upstairs [$35 and $30]."

To save you wear and tear on your calculator, the prices announced yesterday work out thusly: a $35 dugout box seat costs $2,835 for the season; a $25 baseline and infield box seat costs $2,025; a $23 left- or right-field box seat costs $1,863; a $16 outfield, deck and grandstand seat costs $1,296; a $12 bleacher seat costs $972; and a $9 left- and right-field grandstand seat costs $729.

According to the Pirates, the average ticket price in PNC Park is $19.24, which they contend falls into the middle of the other new major-league homeowners: Seattle's Safeco Field (1999) averaged $21.60, Detroit's Comerica Park (2000) averaged $20.82, San Francisco's Pacific Bell Park (2000) averaged $18.35 and Houston's Enron Field (2000) averaged $18.02. Such prices exclude premium seating and luxury boxes.

On the whole, however, Comerica's top seats went for $75 and $60, Pac Bell's for $42 and $36.

"It sounds like the Pirates, if not right on, are even a little less expensive than their new-stadium peers," said Matthew Freedman, editor of the Chicago-based Team Marketing Report. "When you look at the Pirates, though, they were traditionally in the lower quarter, if not the lower third, in ticket prices. So if they were going to greatly increase prices, they were much more likely going to feel the wrath of their fans.

"Even with these prices, there's going to be a significant jump from [prices] last year. And, even with these prices, the Pirates will be generating significantly more revenue in PNC than in Three Rivers."

Almost half of the 38,000-plus PNC Park seats -- 9,400 first-to-third baseline boxes plus 7,600 boxes farther down the lines -- come at the prices of $25 and $23, respectively, compared to similar seats that ranged from $20 to $17 in Three Rivers.

About 2,000 outfield reserved and left-field restaurant deck seats along the first level come at a $16 price, anywhere from $6 to $10 more expensive than in Three Rivers.

Nearly 5,000 grandstand seats, behind the premium-club seats between first and third bases, come at a $16 price, anywhere from $3 to $6 more expensive than in Three Rivers.

Another 2,600 bleacher seats, with backs, in the left- and left-center-field first level come at a $12 price, $2 more expensive than in Three Rivers.

Some 5,400 seats in the left- and right-field second level come at a $9 price, $1 cheaper than their comparable perch in Three Rivers.

"In the end, if there isn't better value here, we've got a problem," the Pirates' Freeman said. "But our anticipation is people will see an added value not only from the ballpark but from the team. We hope people come away thinking they've got their money's worth. If they don't, that will be a problem. But we think they will."

Freeman added the premium seats remain on sale. Partial-plan packages will be available after the club first tries to serve season-ticket holders.



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