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Steelers

Tickets accessible for Divisional playoff game

| Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2003

Tim Favetti is so confident he'll get tickets to Saturday's Steelers game, he hasn't thought about back-up plans.

Favetti and seven friends plan to rent a van and leave Pittsburgh on Saturday at 4 a.m. — with or without tickets — and roll into Nashville by noon on Saturday.

"We could always go to a bar and watch the game if we have to, but we don't look at it like that," said Favetti, of Scott Township. "We always get in."

On the Internet and in newspaper classified ads, Steelers fans — and people looking to make some money off of them — are gearing up for another weekend of haggling over ticket prices as the Steelers' playoff game against the Nashville Titans draws near.

Though the game is sold out, dozens of ads, mainly from Nashville-area sellers, could be found on the Web yesterday. Some Steelers fans said all those ads gave them confidence they'd find tickets, without losing their Steelers jerseys in the process. Hotel rooms, flights and buses to Nashville also were available.

On eBay, some club seats were listed at more than $350 each, but several tickets still hovered below $100.

Eddie Stumm of Cranberry Township said he expected to find a fair deal on tickets for his buddy, his sister and himself. Overall, he wants to pay no more than 25 or 30 percent above face value — and he said he believes it's possible for buyers who are shrewd, patient, and a bit lucky.

Stumm doesn't plan to head over to Vento's Pizza in East Liberty this afternoon, but he expects plenty of people will.

There, long-time Steelers fan Jeanne Hanchett will sell 42 tickets to fellow Steelers faithfuls. Hanchett bought the tickets from the Tennessee Titans as a result of a well-timed phone call: She phoned the ticket office just minutes after another buyer failed to get credit card approval in time to buy 50 hospitality tickets.

She bought the block of tickets, and decided to sell most of them at Vento's for face value: $150 each. The tickets will be sold in pairs. Included in the cost is a tailgate party in a private tent prior to the game, said Al Vento Jr., who operates Vento's.

At 1 p.m. today, Vento said, anyone who shows up to the pizzeria may fill out a raffle ticket. Vento's is located at 420 N. Highland Ave. The winners will also be randomly selected today.

"Mrs. Hanchett is going to pick out 21 lucky winners," he said, adding he planned to throw his own name in the hat. The winners, who will buy two tickets each, also may purchase bus tickets for $99 each, Vento said.

The winners of the pizzeria raffle will be among as many as 3,000 Steelers fans who are expected to head the Nashville for game, according to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"They said on the news last night [in Nashville] that the Steelers fans are die-hard, that they're going to come," said Amanda Price, communications director for the Bureau.

According to Price and some Pittsburgh area travel agencies, hotel rooms were plentiful in Nashville so far this week — and many were available for under $100.

Round-trip airline tickets to Nashville from Pittsburgh also were available yesterday for about $300. US Airways offered nonstop flights, and Delta, United, Northwest, and American Airlines each offered tickets to Nashville with one connecting flight.

Greyhound also said it could take some fans to Nashville, on buses leaving late Friday or early Saturday. A bus trip takes a bit longer, however One bus leaving the Greyhound bus terminal at 5511 Liberty Ave., Downtown, departs at 12:25 a.m. Saturday and arrives at 12:45 p.m. that day.

Favetti, who plans to hire a driver to take his seven pals to Nashville in a rented van, expects the trip will take eight hours.

Mapquest, the Web site that give driving directions, plotted a 566-mile route between Nashville and Pittsburgh that would take about nine hours.

Then again, Favetti said time doesn't really matter on a pilgrimage to a Steelers game.

"We don't base it on hours or miles, we base it on beer. We think it's about two cases."

For information and help to book hotel rooms in Nashville, call (800) 657-6910 or vist www.Nashvillecvb.com .

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