Originally written on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 11/17/14
In what is becoming a repeating theme within the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers want upgrades to the stadium they call home, and they want someone else to pay the bill, or at least most of it. Per Deadspin, the Steelers are suing the SEA (Sports and Exhibition Authority) in hopes of forcing the SEA to foot the bill for two-thirds of the expansion that would add 3,000 seats to one of the smallest stadiums in the league. Heinz Field currently runs at a capacity of 65,500 fans. In this case, the Steelers may have a point. Within the Steelers' lease, there exists a clause that would require the SEA to pay two-thirds of any "designated expansion" of up to 10,000 seats. The SEA, however, argues that the expansion is simply a "modification," not a "capital improvement." The difference to you or I may be a simple label, but in dollars, the distinction is huge. The legal side of this will play out, and from a layman, it appears the Steelers may have a legitimate case. It's usually at this point that the NFL team in question would threaten to move to Los Angeles, London or some other city that won't be getting an NFL franchise in the next fifty years, but that's not what will happen here. The Steelers could make such a threat, but everyone in their right mind would know that threat would be total BS. The Steelers are simply anxious to get this case resolved and move forward with the stadium's addition. Pittsburgh has a particularly emphatic fan base, and the waiting list for season tickets is likely longer than Santa's Christmas list. Every year that goes by, the Steelers are missing out on 3,000 seats worth of additional revenue. It's unclear whether the Steelers would go forward with the expansion of Heinz Field if they're unable to force the SEA to pay for two-thirds of the expansion. TribLive.com reports that the SEA's share would be roughly $20 million, meaning the total cost of the seating expansion would weigh in at around $30 million.
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