Judge nixes Steelers’ bid for Heinz Field seats

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A judge has rejected a claim by the Pittsburgh Steelers that the taxpayer-funded city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority must pay most of the cost to add 3,000 seats to the team’s 11-year-old stadium, Heinz Field.

Allegheny County Judge Joseph James’ ruling on Wednesday isn’t final. The issue could still be litigated at a trial in December, but the judge ruled the Steelers — for now — haven’t proven the plain language of the stadium lease supported the team.

The Steelers’ lawsuit contends the new seats qualify as a “capital improvement” under which the authority must pay two-thirds of the $30 million cost. But authority officials say the new seats qualify only as a “modification” of the stadium which, under the language of the lease, would mean the Steelers pay the entire bill.

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