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Pirates, nearly .500, seeing boost in attendance at PNC Park

May 22, 2011, 10:31 AM EST

Colorado Rockies v Pittsburgh Pirates Reuters

Attendance is down, in general, around most of Major League Baseball. The weather has played a part in that and so has the poor state of the economy. But at least one unexpected team has seen a rise in support, a rise that is only gaining more momentum: the Pittsburgh Pirates.

According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, ticket sales this year at the gorgeous PNC Park are already up 2.4 percent and are 14 percent ahead of the sales pace set in 2010.

The Pirates sold out Saturday evening’s 6-2 interleague victory over the Tigers, in part because of a bobblehead promotion featuring popular second baseman and Pittsburgh native Neil Walker. One Pirates executive is predicting that the club will draw at least nine sellouts this season.

“We’re seeing some pretty good growth,” executive vice president Lou DePaoli said last week. “Even some weekday games are moving well. We should have more sellouts this year than we did last year.”

Of course, playing good baseball helps. The Bucs have an improved 22-23 record this season and sit only four games back of the Cardinals in the National League Central standings.

More than 90,000 tickets have been sold for the Pirates’ early-June series against the cross-state Phillies.

  1. kingjoe1 - May 22, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    Really??? I had no idea that a team worth watching would draw more fans. Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. wildinkc - May 22, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    Hold on wait, Do you mean to tell me that when a team is winning fans will actually show up(unless your Tampa bay) , and when a team is loosing no one will show up.

    • Old Gator - May 22, 2011 at 11:42 AM

      If they stuck PNC Park another fifteen or twenty miles up into the hills, connected it to town by the two or three most congested roads in the state and redesigned it so that it looked like an inverted concrete plantar’s wart, I assure you they could win sixty five percent of their games and draw no better than the Razed.

      • florida76 - May 22, 2011 at 2:34 PM

        Sure, stadium location is important, but so is tradition. Tampa has very little baseball tradition of its own, and the issue of the location of Tropiciana Field was a minor one when the Rays were horrible. Having lived in the Tampa Bay area during those years, that is an indisputable fact. The organization, media, fan base, and political leaders all blamed the poor attendance to a bad team, rarely did the bad stadium and location enter the discussion.

        Now that Tampa has a winning team, along with a huge population in that market, you can’t turn around and suddenly say the stadium quality/location is a big reason for the disappointing attendance.

  3. samu0034 - May 22, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    It’s a beautiful ballpark, easily my favorite that I’ve been to. All people need is an excuse, the chance to see a team that they’re not embarrassed by.

  4. missthemexpos - May 22, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    WINNING, DUH!

    • aceshigh11 - May 22, 2011 at 4:58 PM

      Heheh.

  5. jimbo1949 - May 22, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    No wonder Leyland was upset about having to go back to Pittsburgh, err, uh, Interleague games. Yeah, Interleague games, that’s the ticket.

  6. nocryinginbaseball07 - May 22, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    Not a Bucs fan, but I know the passion Pirates fans have always had. Great sports town; all they need is a little incentive to get them to the ballpark. Was in Pittsburgh this weekend; PNC truly is an amazing park, and the excitement in town was thick.

  7. royhobbs39 - May 22, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    They also have the Red Sox coming in for an interleague game in late June. They really lucked out with their home schedule. Too bad they do not put it back into their system.

  8. stairwayto7 - May 22, 2011 at 11:08 PM

    PNC is the best ball park hands down! You can see the city, no dead ivy on the walls, no 3 foot wall then a 37 foot wall, no roof that is always closed when temp is over 75 degrees plus the scoreboard is accurate! They scow where the runners are at other games, not saying 2-1 bottom of 5th!

  9. winkeroni - May 23, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    MLB teams need to start having the types of promotions the minor league squads have if they are struggling to get people into the park. If a team attracts 30-40k fans a game then they may not need promotions but if they attract less than 10k nothing will fill up the seats like cheap seats and $1 beers.

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