CLEVELAND — While it's still not a certainty that fans will be allowed inside Heinz Field for Sunday night's playoff game between the Steelers and Browns, Cleveland fans are already shelling out big bucks for their chance to see the team's first playoff game in 18 years.
"The demand really started in the third quarter as they were winning," said Scott Merk, owner of Merk's Tickets.
It's a hunger for tickets that Merk said he's willing to satisfy for a price.
"I sold four on the five-yard line at $885," said Merk. "And I sold four on the 43-yard line, 11 rows behind the Browns' bench and I sold those for $1,235 apiece."
A search of online ticket sites shows most tickets to Sunday night's playoff game in Pittsburgh start at more than $500. Premium tickets are advertised for sale at $5,000, $7,000, and up to $10,000 per seat.
The sky-high prices come with a warning from Cleveland's Better Business Bureau.
"These tickets are going to be very expensive which makes it even more important that you do your research and deal with a legitimate business," said Cleveland BBB CEO Sue McConnell.
She said in the age of Coronavirus, buyers need to not only read but also understand the seller's refund policy.
In some cases, McConnell said ticket buyers found out instead of getting their money back, websites only offered a credit toward future ticket purchases.
That could be particularly important since the Steelers have not allowed fans in the stadium on game days in more than a month.
In a statement, a spokesman for the team said the Steelers are talking with public health officials about the increasing capacity for the playoff game, but at this point, the Steelers are preparing to restrict fans in the seating bowl to family and friends of players and the organization.
"We don’t even know if we can go to the game yet, so we would recommend you be patient," said McConnell. "Let’s get some details out there, what’s going to happen with the game."
Merk said the uncertainty has left some potential buyers on the fence.
"I've got a lot of orders, they don’t want to pull the trigger until they have more security in knowing what’s going to happen," said Merk.
But with any attendance likely to be limited, he said fans should expect to dig deep into their wallets if they want to be a part of Browns history Sunday.
"The die-hard fans of the Steelers or Browns, they’re going to spend to be there if they want to be there," said Merk.