The Steelers could lose more than one-third of their total income if the NFL plays the 2020 season without fans, according to a recent report by Forbes.
Using data available from the 2018 season, Forbes estimated that the Steelers earned $156 million, or 35% of their total $439 million in revenue, from in-stadium sources such as ticket sales, concessions, stadium sponsorships, merchandise and parking.
Playing without fans may be a necessary step for the league to play this fall as the nation still deals with the coronavirus pandemic. Gatherings of more than 25 people are currently prohibited by order of governor Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania, a stance than would have to change for the Steelers to even practice, let alone play.
If the season does happen without fans, the Steelers would be tied for 15th for the most revenue lost in the NFL under a no-fans arrangement. The Dallas Cowboys would stand to lose $621 million, while the Cincinnati Bengals could lose $99 million, the lowest of all teams not moving into a new stadium this offseason.
As a whole, the league would lose $5.5 billion in revenue by playing without fans, or 38% of its total revenue, again using 2018 numbers as a base model.
The losses would not just impact team owners. The league has pledged to pay players 47% of football-related income in the 2020 season in the latest collective bargaining agreement, tying the salaries of players to league revenue.