No fans will be allowed to attend Pitt home games at Heinz Field in September, according to an announcement from the school on Friday afternoon. The decision was made in order to comply with guidelines from Pennsylvania and Allegheny County health officials attempting to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Although we are disappointed for our loyal and passionate fans, the Panther Pitt student section and especially our student-athletes’ families and friends, the University of Pittsburgh respects and understands the guidelines set forth by state and county health officials,” Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke said in a press release from Pitt. “We will remain in communication with the appropriate agencies and continue to explore possible fan attendance — in each of our fall sports’ home venues — for contests beyond September.”
The update from Lyke followed a similar announcement from the Philadelphia Eagles and a report regarding Pitt’s Heinz Field co-tenants, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The first Pennsylvania football team to issue a statement regarding fall football game attendance on Friday was the Philadelphia Eagles. In an official announcement, the team stated that fans would not be permitted to attend home games “until further notice.” And much like Pitt, the Eagles noted that the decision was essentially made for them by state and city government officials.
In addition, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported shortly before Pitt’s announcement that the Pittsburgh Steelers will not allow fans for “at least the first two games this season.” The Steelers’ first two home games are scheduled for Sept. 20 and Sept. 27, and their third is scheduled for Oct. 11. So as Lyke noted in her statement, it appears the situation could potentially change by October.
Pitt is the third of the three northernmost ACC programs to announce that fans will not be permitted to attend at least some home games this season, as Boston College made a similar announcement last week and Syracuse issued a statement to the same effect in late July.
The decision means that Pitt will not bring in any revenue from ticket sales for three of its six scheduled home games this season, as the Panthers' home slate is front-loaded with matchups against Austin Peay, Syracuse and Louisville on Sept. 12, Sept. 19 and Sept. 26. The team is also scheduled to play at home twice in October and once in November.