Pitt/Penn State To Bring Big Business To Pittsburgh

A packed house at Heinz Field means a busy weekend for local businesses

Shelby Cassesse
September 07, 2018 - 4:22 pm

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - As Pitt and Penn State fans make their way to the city, local shops are preparing for increased business for the weekend.

Though college football games routinely bring extra revenue to Pittsburgh, the in-state rivalry between Pitt and Penn State means restaurants and hotels see business equivalent to a Steelers playoff weekend. 

Dr. Ronald Dick, a sports marketing professor at Duquesne University, said Saturday's game provides a unique opportunity for Penn State fans in the area, which is where the extra revenue comes from. 

"There are so many more Penn State grads that live in Pittsburgh than there are Pitt graduates that live in Pittsburgh. Many of the people that went to Penn State that live in Pittsburgh normally can't go to the games in Happy Valley either because of the distance or because of cost. Here, they can." 

Dick expects the North Shore near Heinz Field and the South Side to do particularly well over the weekend. 

This will be the last time Pitt and Penn State play in Pittsburgh for the foreseeable future. The two teams are in a four-year contract that includes games at Heinz Field in 2016 and 2018 and two games at Beaver Stadium in 2017 and 2019. As of now, there are no plans to enter into a new contract following the 2019 game. 

The businesses benefiting from this weekend will also be the ones to lose out on revenue when Penn State does not return in two years. Dick believes Pitt season ticket sales will take the biggest hit, as many found it to be less expensive to purchase a season ticket package than individual game tickets for the Penn State game. 

"They (Pitt) sell more season tickets when they play Penn State at home than any other situation. I've never seen a ticket so hot as it was two years ago." 

Pitt announced last month that tickets were sold out via the school, but there were some still available on the secondary market. As of 4 p.m. Friday, fans could get upper level seats for about $70 a seat. Club level seats cost upwards of $400.