Steelers games: high ticket prices a pain for students

Written By Malik Vincent

 Can you afford to go to the big game at Heinz Field on Sunday?If you want to sit in section 506 when the Steelers take on the New York Jets in the AFC title game, it’s going to cost a pretty penny. A steep $249 per ticket, to be exact: the near cost of a full year of activities on campus.Granted, it’s the playoffs. And in order to catch what could be one of the biggest games of the NFL season; it can be said that those figures are appropriate.And due to the popularity of the Steelers, not only in Pittsburgh— but all over the country— it could also be imagined that it is not a huge priority to make students a part of the live action.For most, that cost is too great.”I don’t have that kind of money,” said senior Erin McDermott, a sport, arts and entertainment management major. “There are tons of people who go, but not students. I can’t come up [with] it.”Tyler Graham, a senior Sports management major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is a rare, and perhaps lucky, case whose road to a seat at Heinz is much less rough than the average.His family owns season tickets.”I’ve gotten to see some of the greatest games ever,” Graham said. “I was there the last time the Steelers played the Jets in the playoffs, when their old kicker Doug Brien missed the kick that would have won it for them.”The game that he is referring to was Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s first-ever playoff game, in the Divisional round, at home in January of 2005. The ‘swirling winds’ of Heinz Field pushed Brien’s kick to wide right and gave their kicker at the time, Jeff Reed, a chance to kick the game-winning 33-yard field goal in a 20-17 win.”I’m very lucky,” said Graham. “I understand that it’s a little rough to afford them at face-value, especially at this time of the year. You’re likely to have to buy them from scalpers or online. You can’t get them from the box office because they’re going to sell out.”    The NFC championship will be played at Soldier field in Chicago, where the Bears will host the Green Bay Packers. The cheapest ticket is a whopping $310. Brad Frank, a Point Park senior, is one of very few who owns season tickets. He said that after his father passed, it cost him $2,300 to buy the licensing for the passes.”I remember going to Three Rivers as a kid and it being more of a family atmosphere,” Frank said.  “There were many of the blue-collar types that occupied the space. They were usually in between 30 and 50 years old. Then once [the Steelers] moved to Heinz Field and the corporate folks bought up the seats. There aren’t many students there at all.”Tickets for regular season games are valued at around $90.Frank added that as a courtesy, people that are on the waiting list for tickets are given the opportunity to purchase two tickets of regular season match-ups and are entered into a lottery to gain whatever seating is left over after the season ticket holders.”The line for those is probably longer than it is from campus all the way to [Penn Hills],” he said. “It’s pretty crazy.”Graham also boasted about witnessing the game in which, then, Titans kicker Joe Nedney fell to the ground in dramatic fashion after cornerback Dwayne Washington was pushed into his legs in a 2003 Divisional playoff game. He missed the kick wide right, but after the play an official called a roughing-the-kicker penalty that gave the Titans an opportunity to make one from 26 away and win, 34-31.Replays revealed that Nedney was, in fact, untouched. The debacle warranted a written apology from the league that very next week. “That game was disappointing, but I at least got a chance to see it,” he said.