If you want to understand how seriously Steelers’ fans hate the new Acrisure Stadium name, there’s a literal petition to change its name. A Change.org petition with the goal of removing the Acrisure name has more than 5400 signatures and counting.
Daniel Sass, the campaign’s creator, wrote the following regarding the petition against the name change:
“Heinz Field is the only sponsored stadium that the team has ever played in. Previously playing at Three Rivers Stadium, Pitt Stadium, and before that, Forbes Field.
But now the Heinz Field sponsorship is no more. It’s new name was just announced and it is HORRIBLE!!!!
ANYTHING would have been better than that.
An out-of-state sponsor comes in and inflicts this name change on us that isn’t even easy to pronounce.
PLEASE CHANGE THE NAME (“Three Rivers Stadium” would work)”
The Steelers’ name change was a major surprise. While Heinz Field’s naming rights deal was expiring, Team President Art Rooney II consistently expressed optimism over being able to work out a new deal with the Kraft Heinz Company. But Acrisure offered the most money, reportedly $150 million over 15 years, a number Heinz admitted they could not compete with. Acrisure, a brokerage firm, is owned by Greg Williams, who has close ties to Steelers’ minority owner Thomas Tull.
As the campaign points out, the Steelers playing in a differently named venue is a rarity. It’s just the fifth different name they’ve called home over their lifetime, dating all the way back to 1933 when they played at Forbes Field. They then moved to Pitt Stadium until Three Rivers was built in 1970. Heinz Field became home in 2001. Acrisure is just the second sponsored name in team history. Three Rivers was named after the three rivers that converge in Pittsburgh: the Allegheny, Monongahela that pour into the Ohio River. Pitt Stadium was named for the Pitt Panthers, while Forbes Field was named after General John Forbes, who captured Fort Duquesne in 1758 and set the building blocks for the city of Pittsburgh.
Some have suggested adding a field name in front of the stadium tag. Even Rocky Bleier suggested “Rooney Field sponsored by Acrisure Stadium.”
But as he admits, doing so means no one would ever call it “Acrisure Stadium.” Meaning the company just spent $150 million to be ignored. Not something that would fly with their business model.
The Change.org petition has a goal of 7,500 signatures and seems on track to hit that mark later this week. Comments from those who’ve signed echo the distaste of an out-of-state company buying the rights while one pointed to the tradition of keeping it named Heinz.
Of course, the petition could reach 75,000 signatures and it wouldn’t change a thing. Unless Art Rooney’s name is included, the Steelers’ home will remain sponsored by Acrisure. Fans may not like the name and it certainly doesn’t roll off the tongue the way it does Heinz Field, but money talks and Acrisure backed up the money truck to close the deal. And so it’ll remain the Steelers’ stadium name through at least 2036 when it obviously could be renewed. Of course, by then, the Steelers may be thinking about building a new stadium too considering by that point, it would be 35 years old.