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Lyke: Pitt-Penn State a Sellout, Expecting ‘Blue and Gold Night’



PITTSBURGH — If you were waiting to get your tickets for the 99th iteration of the Pitt-Penn State rivalry, to be played this Sept. 8 at Heinz Field, you waited too long.

The game has officially sold out, Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke announced on Tuesday. The stadium has a listed capacity of 68,400 and 69,918 set a Heinz Field and Pitt home game record the last time the schools played in Pittsburgh in 2016.

Of course, the game is not just a big draw for Pitt fans, with many Blue and White partisans living in Western Pennsylvania or making the short drive from Central Pennsylvania. Some of the changes Pitt has made since the last time around, like not including the Penn State game in any mini-plans, were made with the intention of giving the Panthers a greater home-field advantage.

“My expectation is that it’s going to be a Blue and Gold night and that there’s going to be a lot of Panthers fans,” Lyke said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of Penn State fans that are relatively close, so I’m sure there’s going to be a decent showing, but there’s no way to really tell, but I expect our Panthers to out-number and out-cheer Penn State.”

Despite the game’s sold-out status, there will obviously still be demand for tickets, and while Lyke said they are still considering whether or not to sell standing room only tickets for the game, the school has officially partnered with StubHub for secondary ticket sales.

The addition of StubHub as an official partner also comes with changes that include greater paperless ticketing options for Pitt season ticket holders and online sales up to the moment of kickoff through both Pitt’s website and StubHub.

The hope is that the increased ease of use and ease of resale will mean more Pitt fans use their tickets for every game, and not just Penn State. Despite Pitt selling out of season tickets in 2016, they had five games with less than 50,000 fans through the gates.

“One of the things we hope this is going to do for us is enhance actual ticket usage for games,” assistant athletic director for ticket operations and sales Ben Smith said. “We’re hoping that more fans are going to utilize their tickets heading into game day.”

The get-in price for Pitt-Penn State on StubHub as of Tuesday morning was $120, not including the service’s fees, which can increase the price of the ticket by as much as 25 percent. Tickets for Pitt’s other five home games are all available for $8 or less.

Now that the Penn State game has sold out, the Pitt ticketing office will turn its attention to the rest of the Panthers’ schedule. Season ticket sales have been brisk, with 50,000 sold far, including approximately 8,500 of the 10,000 allotted student tickets, with that figure coming before most students have even set foot on campus for the term.

“We have five other home games this fall at Heinz Field and there are opportunities to purchase tickets for those games,” Lyke said. “We want to encourage people to come to the other five home games.”

The positive ticketing news doesn’t end with the football program. Smith said the team has seen a “drastic” turnaround in ticket sales for the men’s basketball program, with 1,000 new season-ticket deposits secured and an increase in renewals since the hiring of new head coach Jeff Capel.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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