The ketchup bottles at Heinz Field will soon be in the recycling bin.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly renaming their stadium after they 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. According to Andrew Fillipponi of Pittsburgh radio station 97.3 The Fan, the team already has a new naming rights deal in place. And it’s with a non-ketchup company that couldn’t be more different than Heinz.
The new name will reportedly be… Acrisure Stadium. An official announcement is expected in the next few days.
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.
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
The Steelers haven’t officially announced that Heinz Field is being renamed to Acrisure Stadium, but that hasn’t stopped fans from declaring how much they absolutely hate the new name.