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Thread: Pirates To Debut New Luxury Club

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    Default Pirates To Debut New Luxury Club

    Pirates debuting luxury club along third base line at PNC Park

    Amenities include full bar, flat-screen TVs
    Pittsburgh Business Times - by Tim Schooley

    Amid the noise and bustle of an active construction crew, Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly shows off what will be the end result of their labor.

    The knocked-out walls of four, 15-seat corporate suites will soon open as the Club Cambria, a 1,710-square-foot luxury facility complete with full bar, casual seating, flat-screen TVs, sleek quartz countertops and a full buffet. It will be located along the third base line at PNC Park.
    “There’s a real need for a club like this,” Coonelly said.

    With an anticipated debut date of opening day in April, the Pittsburgh Pirates are shooting to sell all 55 season ticket packages for Club Cambria, priced between $125 and $150 per seat. Food and drink will be included in the ticket price — alcoholic beverages will be available at a cash bar.

    Lou DePaoli, executive vice president of marketing for the Pirates, said the team has been reaching out to its established fan base of season ticket holders to purchase seats. To date, nearly half of the tickets for Club Cambria have been sold.

    It’s the biggest renovation project the Pirates have undertaken at PNC Park since the former Outback Steakhouse was converted into the Trib Total Media Hall of Fame Club, which opened at the beginning of the 2008 season. Coonelly put the build-out cost for Club Cambria in the six figures, but declined to give specific numbers.

    The opportunity to develop it came available when some of the agreements on the corporate suites expired, Coonelly said, enabling the Pirates to build out the kind of club that has become popular in professional sports venues of all kinds. The club is sponsored by a suburban Minneapolis company called Cambria, whose natural quartz countertops will be outfitted throughout the new facility, as they are in sports facilities in Minnesota, Toronto and Orlando.

    Peter Martin, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Cambria, said the company is working to build brand awareness in the region after its product went on sale at more than 100 kitchen and bath dealers in western Pennsylvania about two years ago.

    “We believe in sports marketing and want to use this club not only to build the brand, but also to allow for people to get in to see, feel and touch our product and experience it first hand,” he said, adding a Club Cambria is planned for the Cincinnati Reds stadium next season.
    Don Muret, facilities writer for Charlotte-based Sports Business Journal, a sister publication of the Pittsburgh Business Times, said such clubs are proving to be a successful trend. The Chicago Cubs, a divisional rival of the Pirates, also recently announced a similar club, with tickets costing $300 per game.

    “It’s been going on across all sports,” he said. “They’re obviously doing well, because it’s taking off.”

    While he sees them as successful, Muret added that the conversion to such clubs also are made out of necessity.

    “Everybody is trying to hit that mid-market because the days of spending six figures for a suite for 81 games are over,” he said.
    John Clark, an associate professor of sports marketing at Robert Morris University, sees a very different marketing reality for professional sports teams from the days when the corporate suites were an important motivating factor in getting major new sports venues built.

    “That’s what everyone always points to: ‘We need the suite revenue to make us more competitive with all the other franchises out there,’” he said. “That was at a time when corporations could spend their money with less public scrutiny.”

    Coonelly said he suspects many of the new stadiums have built too many corporate suites, and he described the move at PNC Park as a reallocation of space to better meet the needs of the team’s fans.
    “It’s not as strong as it was initially,” he said of the market for corporate suites and the shift to facilities such as Club Cambria. “I think that’s why it’s a trend you’re seeing in the industry.”
    Coonelly expects Club Cambria will be a good complement to the team’s sold-out, 403-seat Lexus Club behind home plate.

    Ticket sales are ahead of last year for the Pirates in both single game and season ticket packages, he said. The rest of the team’s 61 suites are sold with either full or partial plans.

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    Default Re: Pirates To Debut New Luxury Club

    Another place for me not to sit. Maybe I can win some tickets through a contest or something.

    Once in a great while I'll end up with someone's company luxury box seats at either PNC Park or Mellon Arena and I'm always amazed when the person comes to get a signature on the food bill that goes back to the company. They'll charge $35 for a bag of nacho chips. I think Mellon Arena sells Pizza Hut medium pizzas for $40 up there. I swear at the last game I went to we had a sandwich tray, chicken wings, fruit, and chips and the bill came in for something $350.

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