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Pirates unveil PNC Park upgrades ahead of new season

The Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball team has detailed a series of improvements to PNC Park as part of plans to enhance the fan experience for the new season.

The enhancements include new social gathering spaces with open sight lines to the field, new concession and hospitality concepts, improvements to group gathering areas, new kids play areas and opportunities to interact with the Pirates’ history.

Pirates chairman Bob Nutting has worked with Janet Marie Smith, a leading expert in ballpark design, to explore ways to improve the fan experience at PNC Park. Smith played a key role in the creation of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles, and also led similar fan experience projects at Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium.

The new bullpen area at PNC Park will include two rows of drinks rails, comfortable seating, televisions and more, while the kids play area has been revamped and expanded to flow along the Riverwalk into the centre-field area. The kids area also includes life-sized bobbleheads and a Lucky Climber shaped like a pirate ship.

The Landing, a new social gathering space, will be located above the centre-field fence line and provide views of both the game and the downtown cityscape. The space will feature new drinks rails, tables and high-top seating.

The Pirates have also worked with Aramark to introduce new food concepts, while other improvements have been made to The Patio, which is located between the upper and lower bleacher seating areas in left field, and Picnic Park, which features upgraded furnishings, enhanced lighting and landscaping, and new access points.

Additionally, the Pirates will introduce several new curated displays throughout PNC Park that will commemorate the club’s history and baseball in Pittsburgh. The displays will be unveiled throughout the season and will include elements along the Upper Riverwalk, retired numbers in the landscape and oversized baseballs placed along the entire span of the Lower Riverwalk.

Nutting said: “As we work hard to build our team on the field, we are also focused on the continued evolution of the experience at PNC Park. We need to ensure that PNC Park is a welcoming and fun place for every fan, build off what is best about PNC Park and improve the game-day experience to meet the changing needs of our fans. The evolution will also include new displays that showcase and share with our fans the incredibly rich and inspiring history of the Pirates and baseball in Pittsburgh.”

Smith added: “It was clear from the first time I walked the ballpark with Bob that the vision was to evolve the experience and enhance the very best things about the ballpark. There is a keen awareness that fan habits have changed, and the way ballparks are experienced has changed.

“Every improvement was designed to bring the fans closer to the game by removing walls, barriers, and even some seats to be sure that fans are enjoying the new spaces while being intimately connected to the field. It was important to add something for every fan, including cool displays for baseball historians, play areas for kids, craft beer and new food concepts for friends to enjoy together.”

The improvements will be unveiled at the Pirates’ home opener against the Chicago Cubs on April 12.

Image: Pittsburgh Pirates