As the Pittsburgh Pirates plan for the return of baseball and a new experience for Opening Day PNC on Monday, the Club announced today plans for a virtual ballpark gameday to connect with fans who cannot attend games.
The Pirates will take a number of in-game entertainment elements, ballpark activations and more, and make them available across all digital channels.
Fans are encouraged to watch or listen to each game and follow along online for in-between innings fun on Pirates.com, MLB Ballpark and Pirates social media channels.
A number of experiences will be available online for fans to engage with in an interactive manner, including ingame staples such as the Great Pittsburgh Pierogy Race, Baseball Quiz and T-Shirt Toss.
“This season is like no other and no matter how hard we try, PNC Park will not be the same without our fans in attendance cheering our team on,” said Pirates president Travis Williams. “The ballpark experience is such an important part of baseball and while, for now, we cannot allow fans into PNC Park, we will do everything possible to bring this experience to them at home. We encourage our fans to follow along and join in the fun during this unique season.”
The virtual experience will officially launch on Monday, July 27, the day of the Pirates Home Opener vs the Milwaukee Brewers. At the ballpark that day, the team will not be permitted to welcome fans for the usual pregame fanfare and festivities, but there are still special plans around the unique pregame. Before the game, the Pirates will honor local health workers, medical professionals and first responders who are working every day to keep us safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
During a ceremony, a special video tribute message for front-line workers will play on the scoreboard and local Allegheny Health Network employee Fred Neverman will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The National Anthem will be performed by Babette Saunders, an 18-year emergency room clerk at Jefferson Hospital, and a Moment of Silence will be held in honor of those who lost their lives during this global pandemic.
Delivering the Experience at Home
Throughout the season, the Pirates will deliver to fans a number of ballpark features that would, in a normal season, happen between innings on the videoboard at PNC Park. The “second screen experience” will take place on Pirates.com, the Ballpark app and Pirates social media channels as well as in-game on the Pirates broadcast on AT&T Sportsnet. Features include:
• Chick-fil-A Game Nuggets featuring Pirates Player Q&As
• Mrs. T’s Great Pittsburgh Pierogy Race
• Baseball Quiz, where contestants have the chance to select the Box of Mystery, presented by Sheetz
• Fast Bucs, a Family Feud-style in-park feature, sponsored by Sheetz
• The popular T-Shirt Toss, presented by PNC
• The Hat Shuffle, presented by New Era
• Virtual Seventh Inning Stretch, sponsored by Eat ‘N Park, with the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”
• Sunday’s soloists virtual singing of God Bless America
• PNC Park 20th season top moments highlights
Fans will have a chance to win prizes on social media, test their skills on the Ballpark App and more. As a thank you for being loyal fans, the Pirates sent each of their Season Ticket Holders two “Ballpark Experience in a Box” gift packs. Fans may not be able to attend games, but they will be able to enjoy some of the most popular planned giveaways of the season as well as other items from the team. The “Ballpark Experience in a Box” includes:
• PNC Park 20th season fleece pullover, presented by PNC
• 2020 Josh Bell Bobblehead, sponsored by Giant Eagle, celebrating Bell’s two home runs into the Allegheny River.
• Pirates Family Forever t-shirt, presented by Allegheny Health Network
• Pirates drawstring bag, sponsored by Allegheny Health Network
• Pirates logoed mask, presented by Highmark
• Pirates labeled hand sanitizer
• Pirates branded stylus
A Connection to Our Fans
Over the weeks leading up to the Home Opener, the Pirates have worked with Season Ticket Holders and followers on social media to collect pictures of fans showing their support of the 2020 team. Pirates fans were asked to send pictures holding up rally signs and cheering on the Buccos. Those pictures will now be displayed in the Player’s Tunnel near the Pirates Clubhouse.
The MLB Ballpark is the perfect mobile companion to the gameday experience at PNC Park. The Ballpark app perfectly complements and personalizes the PNC Park experience with digital ticketing functionality, mobile check-in offers, rewards and exclusive content. This season, the PNC Park experience will be completely mobile with the Pirates offering interactive games and entertainment through the app.
In addition to some of the features listed above, the Ballpark app experiences include:
• Digital editions of First Pitch Magazine
• Bucco Bingo
• Pirates Trivia
• Kids Activities