Since opening its doors in August 2001, the NFL stadium in Pittsburgh has only had one name: Heinz Field. However, that will now be changing after Monday’s surprising announcement that Acrisure will be taking over the naming rights to the stadium.
The company signed a 15-year deal, which means that from now until at least the end of the 2036 season, the Steelers‘ home will be known as Acrisure Stadium.
The fact that Heinz originally bought the naming rights made a lot of sense and that’s because the company is a Pittsburgh institution. It was founded in Pennsylvania and has its headquarters in Pittsburgh.
So why did Heinz give up on the naming rights after holding them for 20 years? The company explained the situation on Monday, and apparently, like most things in life, it all came down to money.
“While we worked diligently with the Steelers for several months around a new naming rights deal, they found a new partner willing to pay significantly more than we could justify,” the company said in a statement.
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When Heinz originally bought the naming rights in 2001, they agreed to a 20-year deal that called for them to pay a total of $57 million, which means they were paying $2.85 million per year. According to Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, Acrisure will be paying “more than” $10 million per year under the new deal. That’s a substantial increase that Heinz just wasn’t willing to pay.
Although Heinz is losing its name from the stadium, it will still be partnering with the Steelers.
“Pittsburgh is the city where H.J. Heinz was born and where he launched what is now an iconic, global brand. The Steelers are a legendary franchise, and together with Heinz are a winning combination that represent some of the best of Pittsburgh,” the company’s statement said. “While our name will no longer be on the stadium, Heinz will remain a significant, long-term sponsor of the Steelers and we’re excited to announce the details of our new partnership in the days ahead. Kraft Heinz is committed to its ongoing support of the Steelers and the Pittsburgh community, in a city that is our co-headquarters.”
Now that the stadium name is changing, it’s probably for the best that Ben Roethlisberger retired because it seems like he’s pretty set on calling it Heinz Field for the rest of time.