Coronavirus’ Impact on the Sports & Exhibition Authority In Pittsburgh/Allegheny County

Summary of Study

The Sports & Exhibition Authority (SEA) -- a joint authority of the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County that owns the stadiums, arena, and convention center -- has nine outstanding bonds.

At the end of 2019, the principal outstanding on SEA bonds was $584.6 million. Total debt service on the bonds in 2020 is $53.8 million. 

In its 2019 audit released in April, the SEA noted the impact of the coronavirus was “uncertain and cannot be predicted” but felt there could be an effect on bond ratings.

Read the full policy brief here.

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Allegheny Institute for Public Policy

Findings:

  • Five payments due in November and December involve gaming dollars, which the Allegheny Institute documented took a significant hit. The Penguins stopped playing in March and then resumed games in Canada. The Steelers are to play this month without fans.  Parking facilities likely had reduced usage. The SEA assumes “all bond payments will be made as designed.”  
  • While the SEA appears to be in a stable position regarding bond payments, it is seeking grants from federal, state, and Allegheny County government for aid to the facilities it owns.
  • All in all, if reduced economic activity continues, that will again highlight the perils of government-directed development, especially when done on behalf of private entities.

Read the full policy brief here.