LATROBE, Pa. — The Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they’ve set the Latrobe Memorial Stadium attendance record at Friday night’s practice with 13,957 spectators, and the Steelers reported that people from 29 states, Washington D.C. and Canada made the trip to Latrobe for the practice.
— Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH) August 5, 2023
Nearly 14,000 people attending a practice speaks to just how passionate and dedicated the Steelers’ fanbase is. Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan pointed out that the Miami Marlins’ average attendance for a home game this season is 13,190. Steelers Nation and the passion for football in Western Pennsylvania in general is just a different breed.
The Steelers have held their training camp at Saint Vincent College since 1966, and the tradition of having a Friday Night Lights practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium began with former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher in 1992. According to Bob Labriola of Steelers.com, Cowher came up with the idea to have the team practice at different times during the day to simulate what a team must face during the regular season when games can be played during two different time slots during the afternoon and also at night.
Friday night’s practice was the first time that the Steelers have been at Latrobe Memorial Stadium for a night practice since 2019, as the Steelers held training camp at Heinz Field in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and last year’s practice was canceled because of inclement weather. They rescheduled that practice for a weekday afternoon. The four-year hiatus could’ve been the reason for the record-setting attendance.
The Steelers are one of the few teams in the NFL that hold training camp away from their team facility. Only the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams still have training camp at a college campus.
While many teams choose to stay at their lavish training facilities, the Rooneys value the tradition and tranquility of the Saint Vincent College campus. It also provides fans, who might not be able to go to a home game, a chance to see the Steelers up close in person and free at charge.
The only practice that is not free is the Friday Night Lights practice. The cost was $5 for an adult and children under 5 were free. All profits will support the Greater Latrobe Athletic Teams and Clubs, Greater Latrobe School Clubs and Groups, Booster Groups, and surrounding Latrobe Community Entities.