Pitt wants Heinz Field sellouts

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Pittsburgh athletic director Steve Pederson enjoyed the increased following that the Panthers football team garnered last season during their nine-win campaign. Now, he is hoping for even more.

Pederson and the school are mounting a push to sell out all the season tickets at 65,000-seat Heinz Field, Kevin Gorman writes in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Panthers approached that in only one game last year: the home finale against nearby rival West Virginia.

Pittsburgh averaged 49,352 fans per home game last year, third-highest in the Big East and more than 16,000 fans per game higher than 2007. Season ticket sales climbed about 11,000 from 2007 to 2008, to 41,000.

This season, the Panthers have seven home games but have raised season ticket prices only $10 over last year's six-game package. The home schedule includes a surefire sellout against Notre Dame. The drawback is the team's lack of big-name stars like LeSean McCoy.

"There's 'real' momentum and, obviously, an excellent team," Pederson told the Tribune-Review. "I kind of view this as an opportunity to see a bunch of new, young stars step up. In some ways, it's even more intriguing to see who the new stars are going to be. ... That's what's exciting."