PNC Park and Heinz field are professional sporting stadiums located in the North Shore Pittsburgh. They were both built in order to replace Three Rivers Stadium, previously home to both the Pirates and Steelers.
PNC Park has been home to the Pittsburgh Pirates since the 2001 season, but plans for the stadium had been in the works since 1991. Once Kevin McClatchy purchased the team in 1996, the plans for then new stadium became a reality and ground was broken on April 7, 1999, led by the teamwork of HOK Sport, Dick Corporation and Barton Malow. The ground breaking ceremony was held in conjunction with the renaming of the 6th Street Bridge to the Roberto Clemente Bridge, in honor of thefamous Pirates outfielder.
The first game in the park was played on March 31, 2001 against the New York Mets, and has since hosted the 2006 MLB All-Star Game and has seen performing artists such as Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, Jimmy Buffett and Dave Matthews Band come through. The first playoff game in PNC Park was held on October 1, 2013 against the Cincinnati Reds, in which a park record 40,487 fans were in attendance.
Heinz Field, home to both the Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Pittsburgh Panthers football teams, was also opened in 2001 and was funded in the same project as PNC Park. The design was intended to reflect the history of the city, as well as the future to come, incorporating 12,000 tons of steel into the construction.
Along with its regular tenants, Heinz Field has also been home to the yearly WPIAL High School Football championship games (Class A thru AAAA), the City League Championships, and the 2011 NHL Winter Classic between Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins and Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. Tickets for the natural grass stadium have become the most highly demanded item in the city during the NFL season, with every Steelers game having been sold out since its opening, continuing a streak that has been alive since 1972.
Both PNC Park and Heinz field do a fantastic job of representing the city and its citizens. Not only does the design of stadiums visually incorporate the steel for which the history of Pittsburgh is built upon, but by placing the stadiums on the North Shore, the city skyline is very visible from the seating in the stadium, especially in PNC Park. Both stadiums are incredibly accessible to fans. They are surrounded by public parking lots, but many fans prefer to park in the various garages in the city and walk to the stadium with the use of the Roberto Clemente Bridge. One particular moment that truly demonstrated the city’s attachment to PNC Park was when hundreds of fans watched the first ever playoff game in PNC Park against the Cincinnati Reds while standing on the bridge.
By Gary Horvath