On Friday, May 22, individual game tickets for the Steelers 2020 home games went on sale. Shortly thereafter, news broke that the number of tickets made available was “half” of the typical amount. Obviously, this is a precautionary measure by the Steelers who could always release these tickets at a later date to the market, depending on how the coronavirus pandemic plays out in the fall.
The #Steelers held back 50% of the normal ticket inventory when individual game tickets went on sale today for the 2020 season. We are being proactive with these limited amount of tickets as we are preparing for possible social distancing scenarios at Heinz Field this year. https://t.co/MTdXg2buS0
— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) May 22, 2020
That said, this statement is also a bit misleading. All season ticket holders will still receive their normal amount of game tickets. The actual number of season ticket holders is not published, but it can be estimated. One factor is that the Steelers sell Personal Seat Licenses in order to have the opportunity to purchase season tickets. This article from 2011 noted that the Steelers had sold a little more than 49,000 seat licenses.
The original seating capacity of Heinz Field was 66,000 and was expanded by 2,400 in 2015. It is unknown how many of these additional seats came with their own seat licenses, but given their location in the lower bowl near the South End Zone, it is likely that a lot of them came with seat licenses. For purposes of this estimation, we will assume that after the addition there were approximately 50,400 seat licenses sold.
There are also a number of tickets for every game reserved for player usage, opposing teams, and other promotions. For estimating purposes, let’s say this is another 2,000 tickets per game. Of the 68,400 total seats in Heinz Field, this leaves approximately 16,000 seats left for “general purchasing.” (Of course, the actual number may be even smaller than this.)
Therefore, the Steelers saying they are restricting ticket sales of individual game tickets by half means they are only reducing this 16,000 to approximately 8,000. If people are concerned about this move causing a spike in values of tickets on the secondary market, it is unlikely, since there will still be approximately 60,000 tickets available for each game. That said, just as a note of caution if you are looking to pre-buy tickets to Steelers games this season – given the uncertainty with the coronavirus pandemic, you should make sure the tickets you buy have a refund policy where you are able to recoup your expenses if games are cancelled or played without fans.