Bob Nutting tells Trib he has ‘no interest’ in selling the Pirates
Despite falling attendance and back-to-back losing seasons, chairman Bob Nutting has no plans to sell the Pirates.
“Our work here is not done,” Nutting on Tuesday told the Tribune-Review. “I believe we can bring a championship back to Pittsburgh. That’s going to be our single-minded focus.”
In October, FanRag Sports reported former Legendary Entertainment CEO Thomas Tull might make a $1 billion offer for the Pirates. Tull, 47, is a minority owner of the Steelers.
Nutting, who in January 2007 became the sixth principal owner in franchise history, insisted he is staying put.
“No one has approached us (about selling),” Nutting said. “I haven’t heard any rumor. I haven’t had any discussion. I’m not aware of any buyer. And I have no interest in selling the team.”
Nutting, 55, previously has indicated he might eventually pass the franchise down to his three daughters, all of whom are in their 20s. He aims to take a cue from the Rooney family, which has owned the Steelers since the team formed in 1933.
“What Ambassador (Dan) Rooney has done and what Art is doing now is a great model for providing stability, clarity of vision and consistent commitment,” Nutting said. “It has served that franchise well. If we live up to anything close to what they have done, I think that would be tremendous for the Pirates.”
The Steelers have won six Super Bowls, most recently in 2009. The Pirates won their fifth World Series in 1979.
After earning a wild-card postseason berth in 2013, ’14 and ’15, the Pirates have finished under .500 in each of the past two seasons. Compared to two years ago, local television ratings are down 45 percent and attendance at PNC Park is off by 23 percent.
“There certainly are some big decisions that need to be made, but (that’s the case) after every major league season.,” Nutting said. “Because 2017 was absolutely a disappointing season, does it mean our organization is at the brink of collapse or we’re at a turning point? I’m not sure that’s the case.
“Does it mean we need to be honest, reassess and chart a clear path for 2018, ’19, ’20 and beyond? Absolutely. That’s a process that’s still developing.”