January 10, 2008

An e-mail that I believe is being sent to all football season ticket holders.

Dear Panthers Fan,

I am writing to thank you for your commitment to our football program as a season ticket holder. Your support means a great deal to our players, coaches and entire athletic department.

I am also asking for your help, input and opinions. As a season ticket holder, you experience Pitt football in many different ways. We are dedicated to ensuring that experience ranks among the very best in the country.To help us achieve that goal, I would like to get your insights on such subjects as the Heinz Field game day experience, ticketing, your interactions with the Pitt athletic department or any other thoughts you may have. We are also interested in your ideas on how to build an outstanding home field advantage by attracting other football fans to Heinz Field.I don’t think this information is best read on a survey. Instead, I welcome you to write me directly, or email me at For your convenience, I am also sending a hard copy of this letter to your mailing address on file with a postage paid envelope if you prefer to use traditional mail. Your opinions and ideas are very important to Pitt and will help us make the best decisions going into the future.

We are extremely excited about our football program. Recruiting has been excellent and that bodes well for future success. Coach Wannstedt has an excellent staff and they are working hard to build a championship future at Pitt.

Under the direction of Coach Wannstedt, our young team made tremendous strides in the face of adversity this past season and saved their finest performance for last. After watching our stunning victory over West Virginia, it was hard not to anticipate the exciting possibilities for 2008. In fact, Sports Illustrated has already looked ahead to next year and highlighted the Panthers as the 2008 college football season’s potential “breakout” team. We return 17 starters, including two of the nation’s rising stars in linebacker Scott McKillop, who was named to various All-America squads this year, and tailback LeSean McCoy, who broke the Big East freshman rushing record and was selected the conference’s “Rookie of the Year.”

We can also look forward to one of our finest home schedules in recent memory. We will play six games at Heinz Field, including Big East rivals West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers, as well as traditional Big Ten power Iowa.

I look forward to reading your thoughts and opinions. Best wishes for a great 2008 and Hail to Pitt!



Obviously the attendance at Heinz Field in 2007 was way below what Pitt can and perhaps needs to draw. The easy cure to this and the best way to get fans in the stands — winning. If you’re not going to consistently win and reach bowl games, the home schedule has to be something fans look forward to seeing. The Citadel and Eastern Michigan are not going to draw huge crowds at all. Also, Pitt needs to advertise the hell out of McCoy and McKillop, the two All-American candidates and big name players. Throwing their names into an e-mail is a start, but they need to extend their reach to the casual fan.Another idea comes from the message board:

There are several colleges within the boundaries of Pittsburgh, and none of the others have a division 1 team to back. Maybe, some kind of associate student ticket could be worked out where full-time students at the other Pittsburgh colleges could buy discounted student tickets for football. Naturally, it should be a bit more than for the Pitt students, but it could be a great way to build a rabid young fan base. I recall when I was there that we used to party with students from Duquesne, Point Park, Robert Morris, MT. Mercy (they changed names), and Chatham. Additionally, it might not be a bad idea to make the same offer to the Community College of Allegheny County.

The student section this year was a disappointment with the biggest factor having a stadium that requires a bus ride from campus.

Also, while it’s nice to reach out to local high school bands and cheerleaders, why not reach out more to the high school and youth football teams and their families?

Anyone have other ideas in response to Pederson’s e-mail?

As a Pitt student, I think the student section, the Panther Pitt, is close to where we want it to be, but we’re just missing that one thing. What it is, I don’t know, but we’ve got students dying to find a reason to attach themselves to this team. If the team was a consistently in good bowl games, this wouldn’t be too much of a problem. Unfortunately, it is.

I think maybe starting some gameday tradition would be good. I think Tennessee fans sing “Rocky Top” after each score, and Eagles fans do the same with “Fly Eagles Fly.” Maybe Pitt could organize a way to sing “Victory Song” after a TD. Keeping fans active makes the experience better and makes it more fun to go and stay.

I like the idea of reaching out to local high schools – it can’t hurt with recruiting. I never went to any games until I came to Pitt, but if there was a deal I’m sure that would have been different. The only problem with football teams would be JV teams playing on Saturday mornings, or smaller high schools that play on Saturday afternoons. Having games at night would be great, but students are going to leave early to get their drink on anyway.

Unfortunately, there’s no real magic bullet to make Pitt football games consistently sell out – other than winning more. Look at what Penn State did in the 60s. They rebuilt their stadium, started winning more and recruited better because of it. That put more butts in the seats, and look at what Beaver Stadium is now.

Also, one minor thing we need – some way to keep the stupid freshmen quiet while the Panthers are on offense. The Steelers use a “Quiet, Ben at work” thing on the scoreboard. I don’t know what we could do, but it’s annoying to see the cheerleaders holding up “Let’s go Pitt” signs while the O is in the red zone.

Comment by mjb 01.11.08 @ 12:14 am

I just sent him an email telling him that Division II teams will not bring people in, that the team needs to win to fill the seats. I also have a kid who plays soccer in the mornings, so noon game can be problematic. Putting a consistently good product on the field will help fill the seats, much like the hoops team accomplished.

I sure hope we can get more people in the stands. The student section was pathetic. They shouldn’t NEED a reason to attach themselves to the team- they are classmates with the players- that’s all it should take! They can drink after the game, and every other stinking Saturday night. Show up for 4 hours for 7 Saturdays in the fall, and don’t be bandwagon jumpers like so many others are. IMO, the empty student section is the most embarrassing thing about game days at Heinz Field.

Comment by Ann 01.11.08 @ 12:56 am

Win games.

Get the cheerleaders off the “ultimate unlimited all-you-can eat” meal plan.

Seriously, we win 5 non con games against crap competition and win the big east, the stadium will be packed. Crappy teams want “good competition” because they hope to “pull off an upset.” We need to be above that with the skill we have now (think OSU).

Comment by Stuart 01.11.08 @ 2:22 am

Is this reaching out to the season ticket holders a change in approach by Pedersen – or did he do stuff like this his first time around?

I’m not sure what the answers are but I like his approach of making it easier for the ticket holders to get in direct contact with his office.

Comment by Reed 01.11.08 @ 4:53 am

This is a tough one, we all know the real answer is winning. Pitt sold out 2003 because the team was winning – it can be done. The games were fun and the stands were packed. 2007 was a combination of things, bad home schedule, not winning, not much hope (early on), game times (wed night against Navy?) living in DC that would require me to take two days off work when I could easily watch it on espn.

Also, it would help if Pitt reduced ticket prices. I know they have went up and the extra donor money adds to it. It doesnt give people much incentive to buy season tix when you know you can pick up tickets on game day for half the price.

How bout some give away games like bobbleheads, hats, shirts, etc…seems to keep people going to the pirate games and they havent won in 16 years. And to bring up an old subject, playing in the throwback jerseys at least once seems to get people interested.

Comment by Rex 01.11.08 @ 7:13 am

Other than the three-sided “Let’s” “Go” “Pitt” after a score, there is ABSOLUTELY no interaction with the cheerleaders and the stadium crowd. I think the reason for that is the size and layout of Heinz Field.

The Steelers and Pirates both use the scoreboard to initiate crowd responses. Pitt needs to get some of their own programming on the big screen and use it to get the crowd cheering together.

Comment by Kevin 01.11.08 @ 7:34 am

MJP your idiot if you think the student section is close to where it needs to be. You must be one of those fans that never showed up to the games.

Comment by PITTisIT 01.11.08 @ 7:57 am

The Local Media needs to do a lot better job covering the Football team. When we have 15 recruits coming to PITT this weekend and have not read anything about it the local Paper thats unbelievable. If the media covered the Panthers like they do in other college towns/citys it would build some hype and excitement for the team and people would start going to games. So everyone write the papers and say we want to read more on PITT and less on PSU

Comment by PITTisIT 01.11.08 @ 8:00 am

Are they any students out there reading this that had to sit in the 500 level this year because they could not get a seat down below?

Comment by LETS GO PITT 01.11.08 @ 8:01 am

Does anyone remember a black Panther that used to come out at Pitt Field at the start of the games? I think this was back in the 70s and early 80s. My uncle (who has been a season ticket holder forever) and I go to the games and he constantly talks about it. Pederson should bring a panther from the zoo and have them bring it out in a cage. That’d be cool as fuck. Also, obviously, go back to the old-school uni’s and Pitt script. That’d make it more “collegiate” in my oponion.

Comment by Brad Crouse 01.11.08 @ 8:44 am

Brad I agree with you, having a live big cat would be great. I mean LSU has a tiger and I think colorado has a Bison. Why not work with the Zoo and make an Panther exhibit on campus and use the animal for games.

This will never happen, but to have a football stadium on campus would def increase the student turn out. When I went to Pitt it was always a hassle to get to Heinz. Being able to tailgate where you live and walk to the stadium afterwards would def increase the student attendance and it would give the Alumni some time to walk around campus as well.

Comment by Ira 01.11.08 @ 8:59 am

Yeah lets get a live panther, that would be bad ass. We could let it maul effigies of the other schools mascots.

Comment by dan 01.11.08 @ 9:32 am

WINNING. Plain and simple. There are other things that can tweak attendance her and there, such as special ticket prices, giveaways and the like. But nothing will compare to winning. Also, the competition has to improve. Pitt used to play ND, Miami, VT, BC and PSU on a regular basis. Granted, the conference landscape has changed, but I-AA teams won’t pique anyone’s interest.

I like the idea of staring to build more tradition among the fans in terms of predictable songs, cheers, etc. Hell, even Rutgers (I attended this year’s Pitt-Rutgers game in that hell-hole of a stadium in Piscataway, NJ) has special cheers and songs after every first down, big tackle, touchdown…Not just a mere “Let’s Go Pitt.” A live panther would certainly add to this new atmosphere.

Comment by Ben 01.11.08 @ 9:48 am

Let me jump in here to defend the paltry student section…

I was a president of a fraternity during my time at Pitt, and whatever your opinion is of fraternities, we show up in droves for football games. However, during my junior year (2004 season)Pitt drastically changed how student parking passes were handled (previously, you just showed up to the lot with a student ID, new system involved waiting in lines and paperwork) and kegs were banned (always a bad thing). These factors made large, organized tailgates more difficult (we used to rent moving trucks and whatnot), and I saw a huge decrease in tailgating/gameday interest from my brothers/alumni during my second term as president.

The university has gone out of its way to isolate students (we’re hidden under a train tressel a mile from the stadium), while trying to singnifcantly eliminate the tailgating experience. So, it’s no wonder why there are no students at the game. A huge part of the experience is gone.

I grew up in Clemson, SC, where tailgating is a way of life. Football isn’t like basketball where you show up for the game and go home. We had a great environment for my first two years at Pitt (02&03) that actually rivaled what I was used to back home at Clemson games. Now, it’s just sad.

Comment by Greg in Columbia 01.11.08 @ 10:04 am

They simply have to WIN, in 2003 the table was set and season tickets and excitment was there. What happened? They fell flat on their face and people went away.

When Wanny started in 2005 same deal!

WIN and they will come!

Comment by Foge Fazio 01.11.08 @ 10:26 am

Greg in Columbia,

Just to follow up on what you said about the tailgating experience: I went back for the Connecticut game this year, and we tailgated in the student lot (I’m a recent grad living in Baltimore, and still have friends who are Pitt students), and much to my chagrin, I found it’s even worse, now. Cops come through and chase people out an hour before kickoff, too, and they are not nice about it, either.

We were told by two police officers to “get going” about an hour before kickoff. We were unaware of this rule and weren’t ready for it, so it took us a while to pack up our grill, coolers, chairs, beer pong table, finish our open beers, etc.

They came back two more times within the next fifteen minutes and told us to get moving, and they were increasingly less polite about it (not that they were very polite to begin with), to the point that they told us that two or three guys could stay to pack everything up, but the rest of (maybe 10 people or so) had to leave.

Now, I understand that they want people to actually go to the games, rather than just go to the parking lot to tailgate, but nobody likes being told what to do and where to go, especially by a couple buffoons in blue uniforms who think they’re herding cattle.

I’ll probably still go back for a game or two next year, just to see some old friends, but I’ll be considerably less excited about the actual game next year than I was this year after the way we were treated.

Of course, that’s subject to change if we actually field a decent team next year.

Comment by Jeff 01.11.08 @ 10:28 am

Greg in Columbia makes some great points about how they make things difficult for students, and as a Senior at PITT id like to expand on those thoughts…

They completely discourage filling up the student section at Heinz field. For example, before the home opener (East Mich) this year I was with my friend about to enter the game and we noticed that she had her student ticket but forgot her student ID. Being the home opener you would think they would cut us a little slack, but they refused to let her in. I argued for at least 15 minutes, explaining that we were both seniors and have been coming to Pitt games since our freshman year and that the opponent was E. Mich and the student section won’t be close to full. It was no use, we were forced to buy another ticket (a normal ticket that does not require a student ID)… At the same time I noticed several freshmen students in the same situation, outside the stadium with their student tickets but had just forgot their student IDs. How many of these freshmen had single game tickets, and decided to leave and not come back to future games out of disgust?

I guess what I am really getting at, is why turn away anyone with a student ticket that appears to be a student? The student section has consistently been mostly empty and it is a disgrace. Even if the person doesn’t go to Pitt, let them in. What bad can come out of filling more seats???

Pitt makes it really difficult for students to take their friends to games that go to schools in the surrounding area. Students can buy a “buddy pass” to get their friends in the student section, but it costs $25 and college students aren’t going to pay that considering their whole season pass costs $49. It’s a pathetic attempt by the athletic department… Charge $10 and fill the seats. If the game is a big game like a WVU or Notre Dame and expected to sell out, don’t offer buddy passes for that game. Simple.

I would also like to see them off deals to high school students to come to games, even if they sit in the upper levels. That should expand their fan base to younger fans. Anything to fill the thousands of yellow spots!!!

Comment by Matt D 01.11.08 @ 11:06 am

I think we will see a lot of these things go away under pederson. He understands the importance of getting people in the stands and making the entire day a fun experience. To sum things up:

1) First and foremost – WIN
2) Schedule opponents people want to see
3) Reduce Ticket Prices
4) Cater to the students – make everything as easy as possible for them to be at the games
5) Entertain the crowd, minor league baseball has been doing this for years to get fans in the seats.
6) Establish some gameday traditions or bring back some old forgotten ones
7) Use the scoreboard to direct the crowd
8) Establish ticket programs for local high schools
9) Enhance the tailgate experience, dont hide the students – they are the heart and soul of the university (ie Oakland Zoo)
10) Gameday give away promotions
11) Hotter cheerleaders!
12) Work closer with the local media to talk up Pitt athletics – perhaps find a sponsor to sponsor a Pitt news segment.
13) Find a Black Panther!
14) Besides season tickets, offer smaller ticket plans that bundle some high profile games with ones of less interest
15) I think I mentioned it but its important – WIN!

Comment by Rex 01.11.08 @ 11:25 am

Rex,I like the list.
I think the long term goal is to foster loyalty of students to the football team, which will hopefully continue after graduation.

The key: underage drinking, and lots of it!
Pitt Stadium was on campus and everything, but the tailgating sucked. Pitt needs to encourage tailgating by students – the alums love to detour past the studets at places like WVU and other big-time programs to soak up that rowdy college atmosphere. That’s why people stay fans after graduation; if it were only about watching football, we’d all have Steeler tickets.

I don’t think the ticket prices are that much of an issue. Pitt’s prices are already lower than most big programs. But discounts/student tix for HS teams, or students at Duquesne, Bobby Mo, CCAC, Carlow and Chatham are great ideas.

And a real live panther at games would be cool as fuck.

Comment by Patrick 01.11.08 @ 12:30 pm

One more thing: Noon games are awful!

It discourages tailgating, prevents hungover fans from attending (or anyone else with kids that have activities on Saturday mornings).

3:30 pm is the ideal start time.

Comment by Patrick 01.11.08 @ 12:33 pm

I totally agree that the tailgating experience has to be catered to….get the brownshirts to lighten up….and allow fans to enjoy themselves…

How any young person with a student ticket isn’t permitted into a game is mystery to me…..if the ticket is legit…..who cares who uses it to come into the game ? Cheeks in the seats should be a priority….build some excitement….

Pederson should get some folks out to other college and pro stadiums to check out how the scoreboards are used to get the crowd going..and build some crowd involvement pieces from that….mix in some images from the past (like Dorsett busting a good run) with some new images…a flying McKillop tackle or something…hell throw in some Austin Powers stuff….link it to action on the field in some predictable manner….so the crowd expects to see the Jumbo Tron run that bit…ie…for a first down…Touchdown….etc….

Comment by deter 01.11.08 @ 12:49 pm

Good call about the fat cheerleaders. More attractive cheerleaders would have made me go to 5 or 6 more games during my college career.

On a more serious note, I do not think there is going to be a huge problem attracting more fans this year. The year I came to school (2003) was the year they had the Larry Fitz ad on all the PAT buses where he was “flying.” There was a lot of excitement for that team and almost every game was sold out (people didnt show however after we lost to Toledo) There is a lot of hype this year and I think that ticket sales will increase dramatically

Comment by Todd Gack 01.11.08 @ 12:57 pm

Good call about the fat cheerleaders. More attractive cheerleaders would have made me go to 5 or 6 more games during my college career.

On a more serious note, I do not think there is going to be a huge problem attracting more fans this year. The year I came to school (2003) was the year they had the Larry Fitz ad on all the PAT buses where he was “flying.” There was a lot of excitement for that team and almost every game was sold out (people didnt show however after we lost to Toledo) There is a lot of hype this year and I think that ticket sales will increase dramatically

Comment by Todd Gack 01.11.08 @ 12:57 pm

Shady for Heisman bobblehead sponsored by UPMC for the Buffalo game and popele will come. Parking lot passes for people that tailgate and actually go to the game. I saw several parking passes on ebay last year without tickets. I would die for one of those and I’m already a higher donor due to the requirment for tickets.

Comment by Fcuk Paterno 01.11.08 @ 1:00 pm

A point about student tickets and the whole ID + ticket problem that’s also environment friendly(!): Student IDs are bar-coded. At other universities (ok, I can say for sure at Stanford, but I’m guessing they’re not the only ones to think of it) student ticket privileges are applied directly to your ID card. You then go to the student entrance (which is a concept Pitt already uses) and enter by having your ID scanned. No tickets to print, and more importantly, no need to remember that while you’ve spent your entire life using a ticket alone to get into things, you now need a ticket plus an id. Personally, I always thought everyone carried their ID around anyway to ride the buses and shuttles, but this is a problem that can be easily remedied. Switch over to ID-cards for student admission. This also elminates the “problem” of people scalping student tickets. Again, I like anything that gets people into games, so scalping student tickets never bothered me, but it bothers the University, and this is a way to remedy it. Finally, you could still sell companion student tickets on the week of the game as you always do, and those people could be instructed on whether they need to bring extra things like an ID.

Comment by Maz 01.11.08 @ 1:00 pm

Also, if game isn’t on TV, don’t have a noon kickoff

Comment by Fcuk Paterno 01.11.08 @ 1:01 pm

A hot cheerleader, a 6-pack and a free parking pass. Oops…I’m describing heaven here.

Comment by mike 01.11.08 @ 1:18 pm

BRING BACK THE FIGHT SONG- IN IT’S ENTIRETY. They cut out the best part from being played at games so the student section can’t chant “Penn State sucks” (instead of “fight, Pitt, fight” for those of you too young to remember it).

Ever hear the Zoo during introductions of opponents at the Pete for a B-ball game? That’s even worse- but it gets the crowd all fired up and involved and makes the game fun. Just bring back the whole fight song so we can chant “Penn State sucks” or “West Virginia sucks” after every touchdown. Those are the little things that make college football what it is.

Comment by Dan35 01.11.08 @ 1:58 pm

It is easy: Have Expectations

A couple years ago the team was ranked in the top 15 and had 55,000 to see Kent State & Ball State. Even though we still haven’t stopped Toledo, the stadium was packed and loud on a cold night to see us upset VT.

When Wanny coached his first game, I went to GameDay and stayed at the stadium until the gates opened. The stadium was packed that night (mostly with Pitt fans).

When there are no expectations, no one goes, like Walt’s last year playing Nebraska (legendary program) at home – half empty stadium and tons of Nebraska fans. – and don’t blame it on the flood –

If people think Pitt can do something special, they will turn out en masse to see Grambling or Eastern Michigan. That is why winning is the most important thing.

Too much is made of the trip to Heinz Field. There are plenty of people that take the bus to bars on the North Side, Pirates games, bars on the South Side, waited outside Mellon Arena for 5 hours during the winter in student rush, spend an hour on the 61C to get to the Waterfront…. If they were offering .$25 cent drafts all night in Cranberry if you rode the bus there, students would do it. The Petersen Center sits in the middle of campus and if they are playing St. Francis the entire upper student seating area is empty.

I would get rid of the noon games when possible. It is too early for fans who have kids that do activities, it is too early for fans that drive long distances, it is too early for students who sleep until 1 and wouldn’t be awake even if the game was played on Atwood Street.

Comment by Joey D 01.11.08 @ 1:59 pm

Move to the Big Ten if at all possible. Playing Syracuse, South Florida, Cincinnati, Louisville … etc. It does nothing for anyone. Play the best and recruit the best.

The Pirates have the same problem playing in the NL Central. They lost natural rivals with the Phillies and Mets.

Comment by Pitt79 01.11.08 @ 2:21 pm


1. Definately liven up the tailgating experience. Be creative. Have the band outside, maybe the cheerleaders greeting people. Put up a tent and make sure celebrities are there. Bring the alumni (i.e. Dorsett, Marino, etc) to the fans. Have contests where people actually win something. Roast some pigs. Start it early and call it the best tailgating experience in town. Have booths set up giving organizations ad time.

2. Develop an all-time PITT team. Get input from fans and sports writers. Make it an all year event. Have Pederson announce it wearing a script PITT hat.

3. Have BE officials force a long-term committment to ND. This game should happen every year.

4. Give PSU the 3/2 they requested. Get a behind the scene deal that it will be followed with an equal 5/5 deal. They get the first game. Lose the battle win the award. If your not willing, then put political pressure to make this happen now.

5. Have UPMC push discount packages to all PITT sports to it’s employees. This is the largest employer in the area. Force UPMC to purchase tickets to give away to employees.

6. Reach out to High Schools. Find a way to get those kids to the game. Have local school chearleaders and band be recognized at game.

7. Have a student rush program for all college students in the area.

8. Advertise. I’m trying to get my three brothers to get seasons tickets and they know little about PITT players and recruits. Everybody reads the sports page. Make sure PITT is always in it. Run larger profiles on recruits.

9. Bring back the PITT script hat day. That script hat was the best. Give it away.

10. Make an all-time team formed by panelists that include sportswriters and fan input. Make it a big deal. Then have a bobble-head night for each player. The whole team could only be collected by going to all the games. This will definately take a few years to complete. A decent collectors items.

Comment by Ironhead 01.11.08 @ 2:25 pm

Wasnt Pederson big on the 12th man theme? getting the crowd involved. I think we all agree that somehow they need to get the fans more involved. Why not do a 12th man thing like the Seattle Seahawks…just an idea.

Comment by Rex 01.11.08 @ 2:37 pm

PITTisIT – I’ve been to every game since I got to Pitt in 2005 minus USF this year because it was over break and I’m relatively far away. You can bet I’ll be at every game possible next year.

But seriously, win and you’ll draw fans. Last year, students had to sit up in the 500s for Rutgers and maybe WVU because the team was good. Also, I like the idea of putting student tickets on the ID. They’re now magnetically coded like a credit card, but it’d be a good idea. But seriously, what moron doesn’t bring their ID somewhere?

Also, bring back the bridge or at least something to chant. I don’t think we did the “P-I-T-T Let’s go Pitt” chant after touchdowns more than a few times.

And in terms of what I said earlier about the student section being close to where it needs to be – some good preseason expectations would probably bring out a few thousand more students to the opener, and winning would keep them coming and bring more out.

Hail to Pitt

Comment by mjb 01.11.08 @ 2:50 pm

It’s simple. Fill at least a third of the seats with rowdy students….the rest of the place will fill as well. Once there make sure they’re engaged and feeding the team and crowd.

If a student ticket was available to ANYONE under the age of 23 with free-for-all seating for them in a wider area that reached (and expanded) up top…those seats would fill. Further, parents would be bringing HS or younger kids and attending the games. An energized student section makes it a true and enjoyable college football experience which is what we’ve been lacking for those folks we need to convert and get to the games.

I love the many other suggestions posted thus far. We need the Pitt-PSU game back. I like Pitt Engineers’ 1-1-1 (neutral) idea on the PSU Board.

Comment by 13-9 01.11.08 @ 2:52 pm

I totally agree that the tailgating experience has to be catered to….get the brownshirts to lighten up….and allow fans to enjoy themselves…

How any young person with a student ticket isn’t permitted into a game is mystery to me…..if the ticket is legit…..who cares who uses it to come into the game ? Cheeks in the seats should be a priority….build some excitement….Like what is the Pitt Stadium crews worried about ? They are going to lose a couple extra bucks to force a non Pitt student to buy a regular ticket ? Gimme a break…

Pederson should get some folks out to other college and pro stadiums to check out how the scoreboards are used to get the crowd pumped up..and build some crowd involvement pieces from that….mix in some images from the past (like Dorsett busting a good run) with some new images…(a flying McKillop tackle or something)…hell throw in some Austin Powers stuff..or Napolean Dynamite….Stiffler it to action on the field in some predictable manner….so the crowd expects to see the Jumbo-Tron run that bit…ie…for a first down…Touchdown….etc….

Bottom line….build the Pitt experience up…make fun, hassle free….and give a little something back to students to come to the game… about 2ea free game tix a season to Pitt students…..

Comment by deter 01.11.08 @ 4:46 pm

I’m surprised no one has mentioned the game that Jeff Long moved to a Wednesday night vs. Navy. Personally, I had no problem with it because I live 20 minutes from Heinz Field, but what about people like Chas who have to travel a bit more to games and can’t come on weeknights?

Where do you draw the line between playing odd game times/national exposure/on national TV vs. playing at 6pm Saturday night (and not on TV, or maybe ESPNU which no one gets) and allowing more fans to attend in person?

Comment by Dennis 01.11.08 @ 5:02 pm

this is all great. hopefully pederson is reading it. anyone emailing him should include a link to these comments

Comment by bmac21 01.11.08 @ 5:09 pm

Two specific requests regarding tailgating-

(1) Have a separate parking lot for tailgaters and let us spread out a little. As it is now, all the hardcore tailgaters in the Gold lots get wedged in the front with hardly any room for grills, tables, games, etc. I know there isn’t a ton of space down at the north shore, especially for a big game, but there has to be a way to work a couple empty spots in, especially for a Bowling Green type game.

(2) Those of us who get there a good 3 or 4 hours before the game end up parked in the front (good) and the furthest from the port-o-pots (not good). Put some damn pissers closer to the stadium- we’re the one who are spending 4 hours at the stadium and we have to walk a quarter mile, missing out on quality tailgating time to take a leak. Reward the hardcore fans.

Comment by Dan35 01.11.08 @ 5:33 pm

As a fifth year student season ticket holder and grad student, several things angered me about how student tickets were handled this year. It didn’t help that the athletic department moved the student section over from the 20 yard line to the 10 yard line. (they gave our section to recruits and the section is mostly empty) As a result of this move, all of the student seats on the first level of the stadium suck because you cannot see the other side of the field. Before this year, it wasn’t like that. What many students do including myself is buy the student tickets but go up to the front rows of the 500 level that haven’t been purchased by the general public. These seats may be a mile high, but at least you can see the whole field and the plays develop. Sure, it’s cool to sit near the visitor’s tunnel, but I drove 45 minutes and paid twelve dollars to park to watch a football game. Why did I have to pay $12 to park as a student for each game. As someone else previously said, the university has done a great job of screwing students over in the football experience. There are only about 100 parking spots for students and the only way you can get a spot is if you wait in line at the union at 7:30 am on Thursday mornings. This hurts people like me because 1) me and most college students have internships and classes that they are traveling to and attending at this time and 2) there are always those lazy kids who don’t go to class and would never think of waking up at such an hour. The university needs more student parking and better student seats to get kids to come to the games.

Also, we should put some blame on the students. As a commuter student, if I can make a 45 minute drive to Heinz, it’s pathetic that an on campus student can’t take the ten minute shuttle ride over to the stadium. Heinz Field is a great facility and there is no room on campus for a football stadium so students should suck it up, support the team, and yell/cheer at the games.

Comment by AJ 01.11.08 @ 7:44 pm

We need to win foremost. As many mentioned in Fitz’s final year there were excellent crowds for most games. EXCELLENT but not SOLD OUT. For that, we need more name opponents. I agree with Pitt79 about the Big Ten (of course, I’ve been saying the same thing since the ACC rape). Nobody gives a squat about any of our conference opponents other than WVU. Not saying people are sceaming for Illinois or Indiana but even those sound better than UYawn and South Florida (never mind we can’t beat them). And of course there would be frenzies over OSU, Michigan, and … there’s one other school there, I can’t think of the name at the moment.

Win first and foremost … then dump the amateur hour conference and it’s cheating refs and sniveling queer commissioner who lusts over the tiny hoops only schools. Get us into a conference that, you know, actually has the same schools in it for both football and basketball. Jeff Long was a glad-handing boob whose only talent was to schedule I-AA schools. He couldn’t or wouldn’t do it. I think Pederson could.

Comment by geeman2001 01.11.08 @ 7:59 pm

For those of you that are youngsters…the Pitt Panther of 67-68 was named Bajeerah out of a Rudyard Kipling book, and was a cub.

My suggestions:
*Back to the old Pitt unis and make it permanent.
*Cut the noise out of the blaring speakers and mic up the band…I have sat all over the staduim and you cannot hear the band or the crowd noise over the speakers.

Comment by Dan 72 01.11.08 @ 8:53 pm

Get rid of all the lots being Pre-Sold. Let the fans who get there early get the parking spots. They want to be there and this will create a demand to get there early. Getting there early means more time to drink. More time to drink means crazier atmosphere. Crazier atmosphere means more demand for tickets, which equals sold out stadium.

Comment by pidoublet 01.11.08 @ 11:18 pm

Not that it will ever happen, but i think it’d be great to clean up in hoops every year in the big pretend….we’d be a one or two seed almost every year.

And since everyone *still* thinks their conference is sooooo amazing, we’d get more respect for our wins, and could play a crap non-con and go to a bowl every year. Plus we’d sell out our stadium at least every other year because of our real rivalry…they couldn’t duck us…

I have no doubt this will never happen, just saying…

Comment by Stuart 01.12.08 @ 4:22 am

Strippers and free beer usually work!

Comment by Luke Ravenstahl 01.12.08 @ 1:15 pm

Hello Steve,
I om=nly have one area of improvement I would appreciate. We sit close to a entrance to the seats and continually have folks strolling by during the time when their is a play in progress. I would like to have the ushers hold those folks at the steps until the play is over.

Thank you

Comment by Tom Lacko 01.17.08 @ 7:26 am

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