Pitt fans in attendance at Heinz Field for first time since 2019


Pitt hosted fans for the first time since Nov. 2019 on Saturday.

By Alex Lehmbeck, Sports Editor

Pitt football hosted fans at Heinz Field for the first time in almost a year on Saturday. Pitt last allowed fans at a home game on Nov. 30, 2019, where the Panthers lost to Boston College 26-19. Fans can also attend the home finale against Virginia Tech on Nov. 21.

After Gov. Tom Wolf lifted restrictions preventing spectators at sporting events earlier this month, Pitt announced it’d have about 4,800 seats available. Heinz Field COVID-19 policies — which were implemented for Steelers games the past two weeks — remained in place on Saturday. Fans are seated in a pod format, required to wear face coverings at all times and remain 6 feet apart from fans outside of their pod. Fans were not permitted to tailgate in stadium parking lots.

Season-ticket-holder David Metro, who said he’s attended Pitt home games regularly since 1986, appreciated the opportunity to watch his Panthers in person this season. He hasn’t gotten used to a fall without Heinz Field game day experiences.

“It leaves Saturdays a lot more open,” Metro said. “It makes them boring.”

Metro, who has attended many Pitt versus Notre Dame games over the years, wasn’t completely satisfied with the game day experience Pitt provided. He said it didn’t turn out “as good as it could’ve been.”

“I’m glad to be back, but it’s a little sad with this many people,” Metro said. “And these masks kinda stink.”

Pitt allowed 1,000 seats for students, who returned to their domain in the north end zone. Students boarded student shuttles in Oakland on University Place, which took limited amounts of students to Heinz Field at a time. Sophomore electrical engineering major Elizabeth Gilman, who attended all of Pitt’s home games last year, was impressed by Pitt’s safety measures.

“Honestly, it’s been really good,” Gilman said. “Everything’s really spaced out, but it still feels like there’s a good crowd energy here, so I think they did a really good job.”

Gilman noticed a different energy surrounding this game, but said she quickly got used to the new game day environment.

“It was a little weird,” Gilman said. “Even walking into the stadium, it felt a little empty. But then more people started coming in and you started to feel it a little more.”