Some pretty surprising news out of Pittsburgh tonight. According to 93.7 The Fan’s Andrew Fillipponi, Heinz will no longer sponsor the Pittsburgh Steelers’ stadium name. Meaning the Heinz Field chapter is closed. According to his Sunday night tweet, a new stadium name could be announced as soon as next week.
Breaking: Heinz Field is no more. The ketchup giant will not extend its naming rights deal for 2022. Sources say a new name for the stadium could be announced this week.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) July 11, 2022
As of the moment, no other reports have corroborated his tweet so we can’t verify it as 100% fact. But Fillipponi’s tweet is clear so either he’s correct or massively wrong.
Assuming the news is true, it’s an unexpected development of the offseason. Team President Art Rooney II has remained optimistic the team and Heinz would reach an agreement to retain stadium naming rights. He said as much as recently as late February, telling WPXI:
“It’s something we’re having some conversations with Heinz obviously about it. I think we’ll know the answer to that soon. But I’m optimistic about keeping the name as-is.”
Pittsburgh’s home base has been named Heinz Field since the stadium opened in 2001. It’s rare for the team to have a differently-named stadium playing at Forbes Field, Three Rivers Stadium, and Heinz Field for decades. Heinz Field has had iconic fixtures, including big ketchup bottles that would “pour” when the offense got in the red zone.
No word on what company would buy the naming rights. Something out of the medical profession, UPMC or Highmark, certainly would make sense given Pittsburgh’s strong medical community. UPMC already has the naming rights to the team’s practice facility, the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
But stadium naming rights have gone stranger and less roll-off-the-tongue in recent years. Heinz Field was one of those natural-sounding sponsor names, just like PNC Park, so hopefully the Steelers can maintain that with their new partner. But money talks and whoever is willing to shell out the most money will likely become the new stadium sponsor.