PNC Renovation Project Aimed at Elevating Player and Fan Experiences

PNC Field to Benefit from Substantial Renovation Project Aimed at Elevating Player and Fan Experiences

Lackawanna County Commissioners Bill Gaughan and Matt McGloin, and the Lackawanna County Multi-Purpose Stadium Authority, together with the New York Yankees and Diamond Baseball Holdings (DBH), the owner of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, today announced a significant renovation project to take place at PNC Field, aimed at elevating the player and fan experience at the Triple-A Yankees facility and preserving the ongoing presence of affiliated professional baseball at its highest level in Northeast Pennsylvania.

PNC Field, home of the RailRiders, is owned by the stadium authority and leased by the RailRiders.

“The renovation of PNC Field and its facilities deepens the roots we have in Lackawanna County and reflects the standard of excellence that we strive for,” said Brian Cashman, New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. “The community has offered outstanding support to us over the years and knowing that we can further the development of our players in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is a tremendous outcome for everyone involved. On behalf of the entire Yankees organization, we thank the Multi-Purpose Stadium Authority for its commitment in creating an environment that will facilitate long-term success for both the team and its fans.”

The $13.5 million project announced today will ensure that the stadium complies with standards mandated by Major League Baseball (MLB) for all Minor League clubs, as part of its Professional Development League (PDL) model. PDL compliance requires clubs to offer modernized facilities suited to professional athletes, and improved amenities and working conditions for players and staff, among others. These standards are designed to better serve fans, players and clubs, and position the sport for future growth.

As it stands, PNC Field currently falls short of PDL compliance, and funding will go towards both essential improvements, such as security, female staff facilities, clubhouse commissaries, training and locker rooms, laundry facilities, batting tunnels, bullpens, high-speed internet, field drainage and lighting, as well as improvements to the fan experience, such as video boards, hospitality areas, seating and more.

The baseball industry has changed dramatically since the stadium was constructed more than 30 years ago, and even since it was largely reconstructed more than a decade ago. One of the most positive changes has been the rise of women in important roles, including as umpires, trainers, executives, and staff. An important part of the renovation project is the addition of separate, modern facilities for female umpires, trainers, and staff, as required by the new PDL standards.

To fund the project, the authority has secured an $8.5 million loan, in the form of a bond issue, through PNC Bank. The authority will hold $1.5 million of that money in a reserve fund. It has applied to the state Department of Community and Economic Development for a $6.5 million grant under the Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program.

To help cover the annual $1.2 million debt payment, the commissioners will authorize the authority’s continued use of 60% of the proceeds from the county’s hotel occupancy tax. That will cover about $600,000. The remaining $600,000 will come from the RailRiders’ annual lease payment to the authority.

The county’s commitment of hotel occupancy tax funds is not a loan guarantee, and no other county funds will be used for the project.

“We commend the stadium authority board, its architects and financial consultants for devising a plan that is comprehensive in exceeding the new Major League Baseball requirements, yet affordable. Because of that good work, we look forward to many more years of exciting RailRiders baseball at the soon-to-be state-of-the-art PNC Field,” the commissioners said.

“We are unequivocally committed to safeguarding the RailRiders’ future as a cornerstone of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre community and are grateful to Lackawanna County for its partnership in ensuring PNC Field achieves PDL compliance,” said Pat Battle and Peter Freund, Executive Chairman and CEO of DBH, respectively. “As the highest level of Minor League baseball, we look to the RailRiders and PNC Field as the standard for which all other MiLB clubs should be measured against. We are confident that with the proposed renovations and upgrades, the Yankees Triple-A affiliate can look forward to continuing to play in one of the best ballparks in the country.”

Attorney Frank Tunis, stadium authority solicitor, said the project is scheduled to begin Sept. 15, after the end of the International League season, and to be completed by Opening Day of the 2025 season.