Pittsburgh Thunderbirds New Home: Playing at Highmark Stadium in 2023

The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds have announced an enhanced partnership, building off of the 2022 season, with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, Pittsburgh’s professional soccer team competing in the top tier USL Championship.


The Thunderbirds huddle before their match-up vs the Madison Radicals at Highmark Stadium in 2022. Photo: Jeff Gamza


The Thunderbirds will officially play all six of their American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) regular season home games at Highmark Stadium with their home opener set for April 29th at 6PM EST vs long-time divisional rival Madison Radicals. This marks the first full season in which the Thunderbirds will be competing at Highmark Stadium in station square, departing JC Stone Field in North Park, a stadium the Thunderbirds called home since 2019. 


Pittsburgh Thunderbirds season tickets and mini plans are now currently on-sale, with single game tickets being launched next week. Season plans can be purchased by clicking here, and mini plan ticket plans can be purchased here


The agreement, which spans the 2023 calendar sports year, also includes cross-promotion between both teams, team specific ticket discount offers, and a Riverhounds SC intra-squad half-time exhibition show. 


"Super fan" Michael Yeckley cheers for the Thunderbirds at Highmark Stadium during the 2016 Midwest playoff game | Photo Credit: Jeff Gamza

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC was founded on March 11, 1998, by Paul Heasley. In 2004, Heasley sold the Riverhounds, and the team subsequently underwent a number of venue and ownership changes before landing at Highmark Stadium for the 2014 season. Current owner Tuffy Shallenberger took control of the Riverhounds and Highmark Stadium in 2014.


The last time the Thunderbirds played at Highmark Stadium was in 2022 when the Thunderbirds lost on a last second goal to their big division rival, Madison Radicals in front of 500+ fans. 


During the 2016 Midwest semi-final play-offs against the Minnesota Wind Chill, the Thunderbirds also played at Highmark Stadium, going on to win that game 20-18 in front of half a thousand fans. 


“Players and fans still talk about that experience, playing right along-side the river,” says General Manager of the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds Andrew Gardner. “The atmosphere that stadium provides unleashes an energy unlike no other, and we’re so excited to be able to return to Highmark Stadium for another game.”


The partnership aligns well with the Thunderbirds existing partnership with Allegheny Health Network, a member of Highmark Health, who also returns to the sideline for their 4th season as the official athletic training and medical service team of the Thunderbirds.


Calling the playoff game from the press box overlooking the Monongahela River in 2016, Thunderbirds live-stream announcer Matt Weiss reflected on what it would mean to return to Highmark. "That playoff game against Minnesota was the way it should be!" comments Weiss. "I would love to call games in Highmark Stadium, and I think I would have an easier time getting some of my non-ultimate playing friends to come out if it were at that venue. It just makes a difference!"


Ian Engler handles the disc at Highmark Stadium during the 2022 regular season match-up vs the Madison Radicals | Photo Credit: Jeff Gamza

The Riverhounds SC are set to play their home opener this weekend on March 24th against Miami FC at 6PM at Highmark Stadium. 


About Highmark Stadium

Highmark Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Soccer Club, is Pittsburgh's premier mid-size sports and entertainment venue located in Station Square on the city's South Side. Opened in 2013, Highmark Stadium has hosted an array of events including international club soccer, college and high school football, ice hockey, concerts and music festivals headlined by Grammy-winning artists, and community and civic engagement events.