It’s a date which may not mean much to the majority of Steelers’ Nation, but yesterday (June 1) was a key deadline for those who are able to call themselves Pittsburgh Steelers season ticket holders. With the initial deadline of May 1 for season ticket holders to make their payments for the 2020 season, the Steelers extended the deadline by a month in order to give any who needed the extra time to make the decision or acquire the funds for the upcoming season. With stories of fans concerned about having to pay for the tickets in order to keep their seat license but unsure about actually attending the games, the Steelers made the statement they would be willing to work with season ticket holders to help accommodate them as much as possible. In fact, any season ticket holder with a concern for the 2020 season was encouraged to contact the Steelers ticket office.
While some may think season ticket holders should just skip the 2020 season, there is a lot more at stake. With the majority of season tickets coming to those who must hold the seat license (the tickets in the upper deck of the endzone are not licensed seats), there is a large investment which would be gone if tickets are not renewed. When the Steelers expanded Heinz Field in 2015, the seat license sold by the team were in the neighborhood of $4,000-$5,000 per seat. It is a one time fee, but if a season ticket holder takes even one year off from buying the tickets, the investment in the seat license is gone as well as their rights to the tickets. The only other options available are to transfer or sell their license in order to not lose it altogether.
In dealing with the situations of Steelers season ticket holders on a case by case basis, it’s difficult to gauge the teams playing should Heinz Field not be permitted to host the full 68,400-seat capacity for games come September. Yes, the Steelers held back 50% of the tickets available for individual sale, but this is merely a fraction of the total tickets available for each game.
With precise data unavailable as to how many seats belong to season ticket holder’s at Heinz Field for Steelers games (if anyone has access to this information, please let me know as I spent a long time searching to no avail), an extremely conservative estimate would be 70% of the stadiums capacity. With all of these tickets needing to be purchased by June 1, there is currently not a plan in place with the Steelers in limiting the amount of seats available to season-ticket holders.
At least there is no plan in which the season-ticket holder’s have been informed of at this time.
In case you’re wondering, I generally get the inside information released to the season ticket holders as I have had my tickets in section 122 since 2015. I was curious if there would be an email explaining procedures for the fall, but since I paid my invoice the early part of May I have yet to receive any communication in regards to season ticket holders from the Steelers. I don’t know if I ended up on a different list of correspondence due to not having an outstanding invoice or if there simply has not been any information given.
With this said, it is curious as to how the Steelers will plan to deal with a situation of reduced attendance. Obviously, if there will be no fans at games then it is simply a refund for all who have tickets. As for dealing with a reduced capacity at even 50%, the Steelers are going to have to deal with a situation where some ticket holders to games will not be permitted to attend.
If the aforementioned low estimate of 70% of Heinz Field’s seats held by season-ticket holders, only selling 50% of the available individual game tickets still has Heinz Field with 85% of the tickets being sold. So how will it determined whose tickets are valid and whose are not?
Another tricky issue which will arise should the Steelers have to back off from tickets they’ve already issued is season ticket holders were instantly given the ability to transfer or sell their tickets once they paid their invoice. What happens to those tickets where the season ticket holder no longer holds the rights? What about those who purchased resale tickets? Will they simply be revoked? And how will it be determined who attends and who does not?
As you can see, there are many questions which still remain. Even though the Steelers held back half of their individual tickets for each game, they are still very far away from being able to reasonably manage holding a game at Heinz Field with a 50% capacity. While many are still hopeful there will not be attendance restrictions come in the fall, it is an ultimate reality which many teams will have to prepare for in the not-so-distant future.
If the Steelers have a plan, it’s not one they are currently sharing even with the season ticket holders who will be mostly affected.