By covering a few sections, the Altoona Curve (Class AA; Eastern League) will reduce the seating capacity of Peoples Natural Gas (PNG) Field for this season.
PNG Field is undergoing a variety of changes as the 2017 campaign approaches. A new ticket office is expected to be in place by Opening Day, along with LED lighting, digital concourse displays, and changes to the Rail Kings seating on the left field party deck.
In making these changes, the Curve want to improve the fan experience, and see the opportunity to make PNG Field more intimate in the process. The outfield seating in left field will be covered by a signage, reducing the ballpark’s capacity by several hundred seats. According to Curve general manager Derek Martin, the decision will not only make the facility more intimate, but will also refresh the ballpark experience. More from the Altoona Mirror:
The outfield bleacher seats are predominantly empty for most of the team’s 71 home games, leading to the decision to cover some of them. Additionally, putting up advertising signs, which will be adorned with UPMC logos, creates additional revenue for the franchise.
“I like trying to really enhance the atmosphere at the ballpark,” said Martin, who’s in his first year as the GM.
When driving past the stadium on Interstate 99 during games, Martin pointed out, the first thing a person sees is so many empty seats in the left field bleachers. The new GM’s primary goal is to enhance the experience during games, so fans can expect to see changes this year and beyond.
“I was taught early on, in minor league baseball, you’re in the memory-making business,” Martin said. “Our goal all offseason is to think of new and creative ideas to keep it fresh.
PNG Field originally opened as Blair County Ballpark in 1999, and has seated around 7,200 for most of its history.