Why Does Grand Rapids Have Pittsburgh Steelers Fans Seeing Red? And We Don’t Mean Ketchup
As they say in Pittsburgh, "Yinz guys really made some Steelers fans mad".
The Pittsburgh Steelers announced on Monday that the home of the Steelers, Heinz Field, will have a new name. After carrying the name for just over two decades the Steelers' longtime home will be renamed Acrisure Stadium starting in the 2022 season.
Now keep in mind, that name changes happen all the time in professional sporting and other types of entertainment venues. Take for instance Michigan's own Pine Knob. It went from being Pine Knob to DTE Energy Music Theater, and now back to Pine Knob (thank God). Change happens, but Steelers fans aren't loving the "outsider" name.
You see, Heinz Field was originally named for the locally based H. J. Heinz Company, which purchased the naming rights in 2001. Heinz, the well-known ketchup company, was founded in Pennsylvania and is headquartered in Pittsburgh. Homegrown support for a hometown team.
The problem, and trust me when I say it's a problem, that fans are having is that the stadium will now bear the name of a global insurance company based in...Grand Rapids, Michigan. Not a big deal for those of us in the Mitten State, but for anyone that bleeds black & yellow, it's blasphemy.
Steelers fans quickly took to social media to express their outrage that the new name didn't belong to a local, or at least Pennsylvania brand company.
"This is probably the *worst* stadium name I've ever heard. I will continue to refer to it as Heinz Field until this contract runs its course and you come up with an acceptable (and preferably local!) replacement."
"Seriously? Couldn’t find a naming rights partner that is at least headquartered in the city?"
"Because nothing says "Pittsburgh" and tradition like a Michigan insurance company"
Let's just say, the change isn't being welcomed with open arms.
Of course, Steelers fans aren't blaming those of us here loving on our "maybe this year" Detroit Lions, but they were kind of curious as to why the company from two states over was awarded the rights. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, it turns out Thomas Tull, a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is currently also a minority shareholder in Acrisure. Cha-Ching
The new naming rights are part of a 15 deal, so for the next 15 years...Welcome to Asicure Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.