Ben Roethlisberger’s retired. Kevin Colbert is soon to join him. But those aren’t the only big changes that the Pittsburgh Steelers could experience this offseason. Their stadium may have a new name. The agreement between Heinz and the team is up this year, leading many to speculate if the Steelers will wind up with a new sponsor and thus, a new name.
But in an interview with WPXI’s Jenna Harner, Team President Art Rooney II said he was optimistic about being able to keep the Heinz Field. Harner tweeted out a clip of Rooney’s response.
Will Heinz Field be Heinz Field next season?
With the naming rights to the stadium up, Steelers President Art Rooney II tells me he's optimistic about keeping the name as is. pic.twitter.com/84YnNqX0Mx
— Jenna Harner (@JennaHarner11) February 24, 2022
“It’s something we’re having some conversations with Heinz obviously about it,” Rooney said in the clip. “I think we’ll know the answer to that soon. But I’m optimistic about keeping the name as-is.”
In a separate interview, he said similar to WTAE’s Andrew Stockey but noted there is no guarantee a new agreement is reached.
“We’re focused primarily on talking with Heinz about extending the deal. Whether that can happen or not, it’s hard to say. I don’t really wanna speculate on that but Heinz has been a good relationship for us and so we’ll see where that can go.”
The Steelers and Heinz initially had a 20-year naming rights agreement when the stadium debuted in 2001. The two sides signed a one-year agreement for the 2021 season that is now set to expire. It’s unclear when fans will know if Heinz and the team will reach another deal but Rooney indicated that news should come soon.
Teams changing sponsors and names have become commonplace in the sports world and has led to some mouthfuls to say. Places like Staples Center going to Crypto.com Arena (Lakers), Talking Stick Resort Arena (Suns), and Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox). Pittsburgh sports have been tied to sponsors but with names that roll off the tongue. PNC Park, Heinz Field, and even PPG Paints Arena isn’t the worst in the world.
The Steelers have seen very few stadium or name changes in their history. There was Forbes Field, Three Rivers Stadium (an all-time name, if you ask me) before Heinz Field was built. Losing the “Heinz” name would be another change for the 2022 season but hopefully Rooney’s optimism rings true.
Should the two sides be unable to strike a new deal, who could the new sponsor be? It’s impossible to predict but Pittsburgh is known for its medical field. Perhaps UPMC makes a play for naming rights. But ideally, it remains Heinz Field for next year and many more to come.