As the Pirates and PNC Park prepare to welcome fans back for Opening Day, KDKA's Lindsay Ward spoke with Pirates' Executive Vice President for Sales and Business Development David Burke about the changes fans can expect.
- And here are some of your top stories on this Thursday. And we begin with the Pittsburgh Pirates home opener as we take a live look at PNC Park this morning. That is where the Bucks will take on the Chicago Cubs at 1:35 this afternoon.
- Gates open at noon. A usually sold out game will be limited to around 8,500 fans due to COVID restrictions. Now, tickets and concession sales will be digital to limit interactions. Fans who attend any game this weekend will take home a Pirates face mask. If you have a ticket to the game today, the team asks you to be seated by 1:00 for opening day ceremonies. And this will be the Pirates first game at home with fans since 2019.
- Yeah, our Lindsay Ward is live inside PNC Park. And Lindsay, it really is going to be a great day for baseball.
LINDSAY WARD: David, good morning. So we talk about how exciting it is that fans are finally able to make their way back inside PNC Park today. But to get to this point, there is a lot of work, a lot of changes, and a lot of adjustments that had to be made.
So to tell us more about what fans can expect, we have David Burke here. He is the Pirates Executive Vice President for Sales and Business Development. So tell us about the ticketing. We understand this is a big change for some of these people who are coming in.
DAVID BURKE: Yeah, we're excited to introduce digital ticketing through the Major League Ballpark app. We feel this is going to be a lot easier for fans to manage their tickets, manage their parking. It makes it a lot easier to transfer tickets. You don't have to wait at the gate for your entire party to get there. If you need to post and sell your tickets last minute, it's very easy to do that.
And also, the Ballpark app allows fans to engage with the scoreboard in game. So we're really excited to introduce the technology and really think about the ease of use and for the fans.
LINDSAY WARD: How has this made your organization even easier for you? Doing everything basically virtually on your phone, and we live in that world already.
DAVID BURKE: Yeah, again, we're excited about just the ease of use. We know change is difficult, obviously. But we really are excited for the fans to use it and really see the advantages of going digital.
LINDSAY WARD: And especially, for the first time home opener fans coming in, this certainly has to be something that I think a lot of fans are excited about. But they also are aware that, hey, when I come in, it's going to be different. What are some of the things that you want them to know?
DAVID BURKE: Yeah, first and foremost, you know we are socially distancing. So you will see pods of twos and fours, and then six feet of distance between those pods. We try to do as many seats as possible, given the restrictions, because we want as many fans as possible in the stadium but being socially distance and safe.
And then also going cashless. That's one thing that we're also excited about. The ability to use Apple Pay, Google Pay, credit cards, debit cards. We also implemented reverse ATM. So if you just have cash, you're able go to those reverse ATMs, put the money into the ATM and it'll spit you a card out that you can use not only in the ballpark, but outside the ballpark as well.
LINDSAY WARD: David, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate this morning. Obviously, a lot of changes that fans have to expect and anticipate. We have much more on what's happening here today for the PNC Park's home opener later on in our show, of course, and on Pittsburgh CW. Back to you guys.