Steelers are giving Heinz Field a new name, and fans already hate it

·5 min read

The ketchup bottles at Heinz Field will soon be in the recycling bin.

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Monday that their home stadium will no longer be called Heinz Field. The team reportedly couldn't reach a new deal with Heinz, the sauce and condiment company famous for its signature ketchup and the iconic bottles that contain it. Andrew Fillipponi of Pittsburgh radio station 97.3 The Fan first reported that the Steelers already had a new deal in place, and it's with a non-ketchup company that couldn't be more different than Heinz.

The new name is... Acrisure Stadium.

Acrisure is an insurance company based in Michigan, and it's a sharp turn from Heinz, an iconic brand that has its headquarters in Pittsburgh and was founded in a town just five miles away. Heinz signed a naming rights deal with the Steelers before the stadium opened in 2001. The deal was worth $57 million, a tribute to Heniz's old newspaper ads that boasted their "57 varieties" of products.

Heinz released a statement after the Steelers announced the new stadium name. While Acrisure could pay the Steelers "significantly more" than the company could justify, they plan to continue being a long-term sponsor of the team.

Fillipponi reports that Acrisure will pay more than $10 million annually for the naming rights.

Is there a connection between Acrisure and the Steelers?

There may not be an obvious connection between Acrisure and Pittsburgh, but a less-obvious one may exist. Alan Saunders, a local Pittsburgh sportswriter, pointed out that in 2020 Acrisure purchased the artificial intelligence business of Tulco, a technology-focused holding company based in Pittsburgh. Tulco was founded in 2017 by Thomas Tull, who has been a minority owner of the Steelers since 2009.

What does that mean? Not much in all likelihood, since naming rights are sold to the highest bidder. But it does give a little more shading to the overall picture, since a Michigan-based insurance company feels like an out-of-left-field pick for naming rights. Acrisure was probably a known quantity to the team due to Tull’s connection, which could have helped them get their foot (and their wallet) in the door.

Fans already hate the new name

In a statement, team president Art Rooney II gave a little more information about why they chose Acrisure as the new stadium sponsor (beyond the enormous check they got).

"Acrisure provided us with an opportunity to ensure our stadium continues to be a valuable asset for our fans as well as keeping up with the market value of NFL stadiums," Rooney said.

Since Rooney said the Steelers made the deal so the stadium would remain a valuable asset for the fans, this seems like a good time to check in with the fans. Are they happy with the new stadium name?

No. No they are not. They fully and thoroughly hated it from the moment the name "Acrisure Stadium" leaked on Monday morning.

PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 26:  Giant Heinz ketchup bottles sits atop the Heinz Field scoreboard inside Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Panthers football teams in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 26, 2016.  (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
The iconic ketchup bottles that welcome you to Heinz Field will soon be coming down, as the Steelers reportedly have a new naming rights deal with a different company. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
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