County Wants Stadium Payback if Steelers Are Sold

Controller sends team a warning
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2008 12:29 PM CDT
A smooth hand-off might not be in store for Pittsburgh's owners.   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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(Newser) – If the Pittsburgh Steelers are sold, someone will have to pay for the $281 million in taxpayer money used to build Heinz Field, Allegheny County’s controller told the owners in a letter today. He said even engaging in sales talk may violate the 2000 lease, and demanded the team remain in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

The controller’s argument is that since “generous lease provisions” have increased the franchise’s value, the county should get a cut of any sale. But one team shareholder said he doubted the contract could force such a public reimbursement. But the controller needn’t worry about a move, he noted, because the lease will keep the team at Heinz until 2029.