23rd April 07:38
A very valid point, which I've raised before. Corporations are cutting back on
entertainment costs. So, building a new facility may likely see the new boxes remain
empty. You may also look at Pittsburgh's ranking in the number of corporations
headquartered here. Pittsburgh's national ranking has gone down dramatically. With
that in mind, I don't foresee a demand for the new boxes.
If there was such a demand, corporations would be lining up, and then they could fund
a new arena, rather than put it on the backs of the already over-taxed citizens of this region.
I view that as propaganda and not enought to justify building a new facility with the
cost factor. This is all about Mario and the luxury boxes, not concerts.
Second, there are very few concerts that the current facility could not accomodate.
Third, you may remember the Bruce Springstein concert at the stadium. Did this new
facility have the amenities necessary to hold such a concert. The answer is simple,
NO. All of the stage rigging and effects were brought by the artist/promoter.
Fourth, you should look at Starlake Ampitheatre, now known as the Post-Gazette
Pavillion. This facility has been taking such concerts away from the Civic Arena and
part of the lure is not having the city amu*****t tax.
Your thought process is wrong. Both the Pirates and the Stealers do not own PNC Park
or Heinz Field, it is owned by the taxpayers via the Sports & Exhibition Authority
The teams get all of the revenue benefits without owning the facility, nice deal, huh?
That depends on what the lease states. And like the Pirates and Stealers, the
Penguins are seeking a similar "sweetheart deal".......
You should read up on what has happened to the football and baseball teams before
making assumptions about the Penguins.
The bond debt on Three Rivers Stadium is being paid separately, and is handled by the
Stadium Authority, using the RAD tax to pay down the debt.
And by the way, this bankrupt City of Pittsburgh, controls the Stadium Authority, not
to be confused with the SEA. The Stadium Authority was to desolve into the SEA once
Three Rivers Stadium was demolished. It hasn't dissolved, and pays $75,000 in annual
payroll to an authority that manages the ghosts of Three Rivers Stadium.
No wonder this city is going bankrupt! And they want to raise taxes on all of us to
pay for this, via the Occupational Privilege Tax.
Gary J. English
23rd April 07:38
The Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh & Allegheny County own
both PNC Park and Heinz Field. The Pirates and Steelers each pay
$100,000 in annual rent, and keep most of the revenues from the
facilities. They also pay for most of the upkeep costs.
Proposals for a new arena include a similar deal for the Penguins, but
the arena proposal would probably hinge more on tax money from
legalized slot machine gambling. There is also a proposal by a group
to privately build and own the arena, but so far the Penguins don't
like that idea because they would keep less money from a private arena
than from a government-owned arena.
23rd April 07:38
Thanks for the information. Honestly, I thought that I had read that before,
but I wasn't sure. This just makes idiots like Mark Madden even more
intolerable when they start their pro-mario "A new arena would help the city
by bringing in more acts,...not just help the pens", but they convieniently
leave out the part about Mario benefiting from these other events. This new
arena should not be built....PERIOD!!!!!
I could care less about Mario making a larger profit, if he is unhappy with
his bottom line, then sell. Remember, when this team was handed to him he
was looking at getting pennies on the dollar from his contract that was owed
him, because of bankruptcy.
Here is where we disagree. I look at these new stadiums from the viewpoint
of how much does it enhance the fans experience? You never hear fans rave
about Heinz field, 3 rivers was a GREAT football field, & it should have
continued to house the Steelers. But PNC, now that to me, is a little
different. Everyone that has visited, (including ESPN on their 'ballpark
tour', where they rated it the best baseball facility in all of baseball),
has marveled at how nice the experience is. Whereas 3 rivers was a great
Football field, it was a terrible Baseball stadium. In my opinion, they
should have gone ahead and built PNC, but just handed 3 rivers over to Mr.
Now this new arena, is just like the Football scenario, where fans love the
Civi...err..Mellon Arena. It has charm and is a very well-maintained
facility. Building a new one, will not enhance the fans experience, only
Marios wallet, and that is not enought to justify a 250 million dollar
expense on the tax payers.
23rd April 07:38
Dave, I know you use to report on the subject, but you should mention that it is not
the Pirates or Stealers that really pay for the upkeep costs, it is the ticketbuyer.
In addition to the 5% amu*****t tax, there is also a 5%? ticket surcharge. That
surcharge, levy, fee or call it another tax, is used to pay for the upkeep costs.
You make it sound like it's coming out of the back pockets of the teams when it is
You may also have forgotten to mention the reduction in the amu*****t tax in 1994,
was the result of the RAD Tax mandate. At that time, the amu*****t tax was cut in
half from 10 to 5%. That reduction did not reflect in a reduction of ticket prices.
Thus becoming a windfall for all three professional sports franchises. Calculated at
that time (1994) and based on that year's ticket prices, it was a windfall of over $1
million for each team from that point forward. That windfall could easily go towards
the upkeep costs rather than the owners' back pockets.
Despite billing the slots legislation as property tax relief. Somewhere along the
way, the concept of saving the horse race industry was lost.
So let's screw the remaining taxpayers of this region again.
Gary J. English
23rd April 07:39
You are welcome. And you are free to accept or debate the information I raise issue
to. Those this is a little dated, let me suggest you read this link: http://voicepac.org/arenaoped.htm
It's not just Madden, but most of the sports writers and editorial writers of the Post-Gazette.
Agreed. I still think the facility is more than adequate to host most events even
though there are those that try to justify building a new facility to capture the few
that may be lost by competing and new facilities.
Agreed for some many reasons. But hey, if Mario wishes to take a loan out for 30
years and fund it like any other business, let him. He might even want to seek out
the remaining corporations to fund the facility as the supposed motive is solely for
corporate boxes, not increasing the seating capacity for the general public.
And the cause for the bankruptcy? The single largest creditor to the team?
Answer: Mario Lemieux
Is it about a fan's experience or increasing revenue for the team(s) ?
For the most part, I agree with you. PNC Park, from what I've heard, is a nice
experience. It looks as though the did a good job esthetically. Heinz Field is butt
ugly and doesn't look finished. Three Rivers was much more appealing then the
current football stadium.
Where I disagree is handing over Three Rivers Stadium to the Stealers, unless that
included the $35 million bond debt and all land rights are reserved to the taxpayers.
I believe that the current arena is favored by the fans and taxpayers. It is very
well maintained and several upgrades have been made since 1997, as it receives
$3.2 million in RAD money each year.
The RAD legislative directive is to "preserve, improve and develop" not demolish
regional assets. The State PHMC also believes it qualifies for a listing on the
national registry of historic places. See: http://voicepac.org/arenaop.htm
Agreed, except on the dollar figure. The SEA came out with their proposal of $270
million. The Penguins upped the ante by $8 million, making it $278 million. Then
there's the issue of the $26.9 million bond debt on the Civic Arena, raising the
price tag to $304.9 million. I am not going to forcast the possibilty of cost
overruns, which raised the cost of the D.L. Lawrence Convention Center by $100
Gary J. English
23rd April 07:39
facility with the
Paul McCartney skipped Pittsburgh, because the facility could not handle his
performace. Keep in mind that I am looking at looking at it at the number
of times the building will be in use. I have several friends that are
ushers and vendors down at the Arena. This is their primary source of
income between the three stadiums, so I would like to see more things take
place in the arena, so they are still working. Figure 42 hockey games, 15
to 20 nights of circus, 15 to 20 ice shows, about 20 concerts, about 40
events that use the facility (WWE, Monster trucks, Harlem Globe Trotters)
equals about 130 to 150 events out of 365 days a year, making about 215
empty nights. A new facility maybe generates 5 or 10 more dates, still not
enough to justify the need, but if the new facility can generate events that
will have an event in the place about 200 days a year, IMO, would that be
worth the inventment. This will keep my friends working, instead of moving
out of the region to find a job elsewhere. The flip side would be how many
more activites can people's pocketbook handle, which is more economics then
I want to look at right now.
Looking at how PNC Park hosts 80 Pirate games, along with some of the High
School championships, it is used about 90 days a year. Heinz Field has 10
Steeler games, about 10 Pitt games, and the High School playoffs, I figure
that is only about 25 to 30 dates used out of 365. At least in Three Rivers
you had Baseball or Football going on different nights, Heinz field is empty
so much, why have it? I have read the other messages posted, and Heinz
field is nothing like Three Rivers for a football game, and I wish Three
Rivers was still standing for football games. If the new arena can generate
revenue for this region, and keep people in the area, great, but given the
way things are going, I don't see it being used 200 days a year, so the
invenstment is not really worth the return at this point.
The stage was able to be set up in the feild, allowing it to go out and up
any direction and have less restrictions. I don't think they could have
perfomed in the arena, unless they changed their stage set up. Why they did
not go to Starlake is Bruce's perogitive. It would be nice to get more
concerts in PNC Park, having the city as a back drop.
Civic Arena and
Unfortunily it is not open during the winter season, so the limited
avalablity for the perfomers arises there. There are still a few acts that
tour during the winter time. Starlake (I am not a fan of the PG) seats
22,683, the arena about 20,000 depending on the set up of the concert, you
can pull in a few extra bucks going with Starlake. Do you happen to recall
what the attendance was for the Bruce concert tt PNC Park? I was trying to
do a search, and found no history articles. I think the original estimate
was near 40,000. If that is the case, you would wonder why the acts are not
offered PNC more often, unless it deals more with the upkeep of the field.
own PNC Park
That is why my thought process was wrong. Getting the revenue for something
you don't own, what a great scam, where do I sign up? I was too tired last
night and could not recall what role SEA played in all this. I knew they
got money from the teams, but I was thinking they owned the land and not the
stadiums built on them.
handled by the
That is what I thought, I was not sure if it still existed, or if it magicly
was paid off. I have not heard much about this the past few years since
Three Rives was demosiled.
the SEA once
$75,000 in annual
How long has Three Rivers been gone? I forgot who I was talking about here,
and I just figured that that already happened. Just one of those other
things that got overlooked I guess. It must be nice to be in a position
that pays out $75,000 to manage something that is not there.
all of us to
That is why my friends continue to move out of the region, weither it be
Butler County or across state lines to Ohio and Maryland.
23rd April 07:39
That is what was reported, whether it's true or not. Same could be said about the
NCAA Basketball playoffs too.
If really pressed, I could go back and research the issue, but I do remember Steve
Leeper of the SEA justifying a new facility based on higher event figures, something
that the current facility was already doing.
Your friends would likely be better off moving and finding a better job than peanut vendors.
Keep staring at the escalating ticket prices in professional sports coupled with
increased concession and parking prices.
That's a question you should have asked the politicians before they passed S.B. 10 of 1999.
Me too. It was an incredible waste of tax dollars.
The ice capades, Muppets, wrestling, Globe Trotters, Truck & Tractor pulls,
Lippizanner Stallions as well as concerts were just a few different events that the
current venue could hold. You might have forgotten that the Arena hosted the
Pittsburgh Condors (AHL), Pittsburgh Hornets, Pittsburgh Rens (named for Renaissance)
American Basketball League, Pittsburgh Pipers-ABA Basketball, Duquesne Basketball,
Pittsburgh Penguins-NHL, Pittsburgh Spirit-MISL Soccer, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh
Stingers-Soccer, Pittsburgh Gladiators-Arena Football, Pittsburgh Bulls-MILL
Lacrosse, Pittsburgh Phantoms-roller hockey and the Pittsburgh Triangles (Tennis).
So it's not the few events that have been missed, it's has the potential to host many
events. It's like seeing the glass half empty or half full.
Which is the concert promoter and band's perogative. I have seen some concerts
performed in "the round" with a revolving stage. Everyone gets the same view and it worked quite well.
But not enough to justify a new facility because a few concerts skip the arena, or
choose a competing facility like the P-G Pavillion.
That's something that the Civic Arena can do, with the opening of the dome.
But the majority of the concerts tour during the spring and summer months.
The concert was on August 6, 2003 if that helps, but I do not have the attendance figures.
You can ask the Pirates that question, as they got all of the revenue for the event.
That's a major point as to how wrong the stadiums are, and done against the public will.
The land is still owned by the "other" authority, the Pittsburgh Stadium Authority.
That's the one that manages the ghost's of Three Rivers Stadium and has a $75,000
payroll. The authority was to desolve upon the demolition of the 3RS, but that never
happened. The reason is that Mayor Murphy appoints everyone on that authority and
controls the development around where the old stadium sat.
Which is why I continue to harp on stadium issues, people really don't know what is
Demolished on February 06, 2001.
Yep, corrupt politics and aids in the City's bankruptcy.
It's one tax after another. Look at the tax on wages alone. In December, the State
Legislature passed an increase in the State Income Tax......just after they took
their 9th consecutive (COLA) pay hike. Then you have your local wage tax, and
another tax on wages called an "occupational privilege tax". The OPT is just another
tax on income.
I won't go into property and other various taxes we must be burdened with.
Gary J. English
23rd April 07:39
It was only a few years ago that we did host part of the tornament, was it
the girls tornament though? I know it was a big success, becuase they were
hoping to have them back again. For soem reason I think that was in 1997 or
I'm not pressing you here, just alway up for gaining more info on issues.
It took me reading that statement a few times, to relize we were thinking of
the same thing. I knew of some report that generated figures in a new
facility that was equal to what Mellon Arena was generating. Which goes to
the whole if it an't broke...
Considering some of their ages (retirment age), they are happy to be vendors
and ushers, and bringing home enough to give the grandkids, and pay the
Also failed to mention that whole parking tax increase that went in effect
S.B. 10 of
Living in Butler County at the time, otherwise I would have.
to host many
Pittsburgh Crossefire was another Lacrosse team not mentioned. A few years
back there was the Pittsburgh Piranas, another ABA basketball team. Did
they play at the Arena, or were they playing at Duquesne University?
Mentioning all those other sporting teams that have departed, they did not
work in the arena, lack of fan interest I am guessing, a new facility is
going to generate the same results.
view and it
I have yet to attend one of thos concerts, nomally I attend where it is at
one end of the arena. Is it better "in the round" then the normal end set
I have heard confliting reports about that. I knew they opened them for the
Stingers and Phantom games back in the 1990's, but when I talked to a few
people at the arena about opening it they have replied with:
1. Becuase of water leaks, they had to seal the part that opens, thus they
can not open it any more. I don't know how ture that one is, but I don't
think they open it part way for the truck pulls like they did in the 80's to
help the exhaust fumes get out. And..
2. it is too expensive to open and close the roof, because it needs a lot of
electricity. Which is a interesting considering that the area has "cheap"
3. any time they open and close the roof, the panel become lose, and fall.
And I was at one of those Phantom games where the people in front of me had
a 2 feet by 3 feet panel land on them.
Do you happen to know just what is the status of the dome?
That does help now, I know it was in 2003, during the baseball season. I
kept searching in September 2003. I tried searches of Springstein and PNC
Park, and got artiles that mentioned expended attendence of 40,000 or more.
The other articles said 42,000 plus were in attenedence.
Got all the revenue, and they still had to trade away top players, guess
they used the City's How to Successed in Finance Book.
Are they the same ones that are developing that hotel on the land next to
PNC Park? Or that totally different? WHo is the ones trying to develope
some type of theater between the two stadiums?
handled by the
know what is
Whole out of site out of mind thing there. I forgot about it, until this
discussion. I just figured it was taken care of.
At least they were kind enough to give people the Homestead act that knocks
very little off the value of the house, for the Property tax, but they make
that up by increasing the values of the property. I like how my parents
house was appraised for $65,000 for tax purposes, but yet the bank loan
officer says the house is worth $25,000.
Gary, not that I am trying to ruffle your feathers or anything, but I am
enjoying and getting a lot out of this discussion. I appreciate you taking
the time to reply.
23rd April 07:39
If I recall correctly, it was the men's NCAA Basketball tournament in the early
rounds about 2-3 years ago.
.......don't fix it. But it goes well beyond that, as the local sales tax (RAD) funds
the Civic (mellon) Arena to the tune of $3.2 million a year. To "preserve, improve
and develop". With that said, there have been several improvements made since 1997.
It's a part-time job. If they were to lose it, they could find another. Grant it,
it would not be as "cushy", having to stand around and watch the entertainment
while getting paid for that.
Not a failure on my part, as I did mention parking prices in general. I am very
cognizant of the parking tax. It was the highest in the nation at 31%, until they
boosted it to an incredible 50%.
That's a moot point, as everyone in the Commonwealth is paying for Pittsburgh's two
stadiums as well as the two in Philadelphia.
Thank you for adding that to the list. I thought I had the Piranhas on it, but must have missed them.
I'm not sure about the Crossefire's but I'm pretty certain the Piranhas played at the
Arena, unless someone else knows for sure.
The newness of a facility wears off quickly. Besides, the current venue was more
than adequate to host these other teams.
I've seen it both ways, and "in the round" gives a better view for all to see.
Though I don't remember that the acoustics were any better or worse.
I have heard all three reasons. But my understanding is that when the Arena was
remodeled by Howard Baldwin and he added the "F" balcony seats in 1996-97, they also
added the Jumbo-Tron big screen TV / scoreboard. The weight of the scoreboard, with
four televisions is too heavy to be supported the cantelever and an open dome. So in
order to open it, the scoreboard would have to be removed.
Speaking about the "books", the RAD was required to look at the "Pirates and
Stealer's books before releasing RAD funds for Stadiums. It was done under much
secrecy and the public was not allowed to view it.
The hotel development, I believe is spearheaded by the SEA, under the watchful eye of
the Stadium Authority which Mayor Murphy controls.
The theater/ampitheatre is a wish list project by Pittsburgh Stealer owner, Art
Rooney, Jr. I have to question the need for the project since there is already an
amptitheatre over at Station Square.
With that in mind, isn't it interesting that there is no mention of the Civic
(mellon) Arena's current bond debt of $26.9 million?!?!?
Zero sum game. And they'll take in savings away with the next round of property re-assessments.
Tom, no problem. If you are interested, you can also look up my website regarding
the Civic Arena and the application for historic preservation. It's another issue
that received no coverage on. It may surprise you that the State PHMC gave it a
positive recommendation for preservation. You can view the application at:
One link on that page that will give you a better understanding of the financing is:
I hope this helps.
Gary J. English
23rd April 07:39
Yes, I talked to a co-worker today who took days off to go watch the
tornament. I figured he would know if it was mens or womens.
I am sure they can do the same with the Steelers and Pirates.
I have felt like Mr. Monopoly on many of nights going around looking for
played at the
I know the Crossefire did, it was a season thing for them, they came from
Baltimore, and then moved to Washington DC, then to Colorado.
I need to attend one of them then to get the experiance.
dome. So in
I heard something similar to that one, mainly dealing with the construction
of the F Level, but because of th eopening there was a "fear" that people
would be too close to the edge, and consider jumping, or it creating a
dangous situation up there. But the scoreboard info makes sense now.
watchful eye of
Thank you for that tid bit.
I think the intent there is to have dueling concerts on the shores of the
Three Rivers. You know make enough noise to upset the North Side Residence.
gave it a
Spent a lot of time on it last night. Thanks!