Steelers point out Luke Bryan's Heinz Field show generated thousands for city

The Steelers say it’s cash, not trash, that should be the highlight of last weekend’s Luke Bryan concert at Heinz Field.

Countering Mayor Bill Peduto’s criticism of the garbage that fans left behind, the team said the show produced more than $650,000 in taxes and fees for the city.

Heinz Field management estimated that the sold-out concert, which more than 50,000 people attended, generated nearly $500,000 in direct taxes and another $150,000 in fees. The $500,000 included proceeds from the city amusement tax, ticket surcharges and a facility use fee, according to the statement the team released.

The Steelers said that police, paramedic and facility services were among public services paid for.

“We’d like to thank Luke Bryan and his team for the opportunity to showcase Heinz Field, the North Shore, and the city of Pittsburgh,” Jimmie Sacco, Heinz Field executive director of stadium management, said in the statement. “Bryan and his promoter did a tremendous job selling out the venue and giving the fans a night to remember. When 50,000 people embark to the North Shore, many local businesses and hotels benefit and see a spike in weekend sales and reservations.”

Economic impact totals that hotels, restaurants and other businesses outside of the stadium generated were not included in the $650,000 figure, the team said.

The Steelers released the statement days after Mayor Bill Peduto, who was angry about the amount of trash that the Saturday night concert-goers produced, said, “Enough is enough. The continued trashing of our city has to stop.”

Responding Wednesday to the team’s statement, Tim McNulty, Mr. Peduto’s spokesman, said, “Amusement taxes are one of the few ways the city is compensated for ensuring a safe and clean environment for concert-goers. Paying them doesn’t give ticket holders license to turn the city into a toilet and project that image to the nation.”

City Controller Michael Lamb said he was unsure of Mr. Peduto’s motives in calling attention to city spending on the concert cleanup.

“To me that’s just the cost of doing business,” Mr. Lamb said. The Steelers’ figures on the revenue the show generated for the city are accurate, he said. “In this case, the bulk of the cost was born by the parking lot operators and the event-holder.”

Kevin Acklin, the mayor’s chief of staff, has said the city intends to bill promoter Live Nation Entertainment for the cleanup. He estimated the total cost to the city, including overtime for public works crews, cost tens of thousands of dollars. He said the city also is examining other potential remedies, including limiting tailgating hours, curtailing river access and assessing a surcharge on promoters.

The trash the concert generated was considered to be less than that left behind after Kenny Chesney’s Heinz Field performance last year, but Mr. Acklin said the scene this year was still a “disgrace.”

Mr. Sacco countered, however, that while “a small number of fans showed a lack of respect for the area,” the team was pleased “that so many fans were well-behaved and enjoyed a beautiful night in our city.”

Mark Belko: or 412-263-1262. Robert Zullo contributed. First Published June 25, 2014 12:00 AM

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