Bringing back a series we’ve done throughout the rest of the offseason. I promise we’re not going all Embrace Debate on you but Joe Clark and I have teamed up to debate Steelers-related topics we have genuine, good-faith disagreement over. Let us know who made the better argument and what side of the debate you come in on in the comments below.
Today’s topic is…
SHOULD THE STEELERS BUILD A NEW STADIUM?
JOE – THEY SHOULDN’T
While I don’t think emotional attachment is a good reason not to build a new stadium, there’s been countless memories made at Heinz/Acrisure Stadium and it would sadden a lot of people to see it go away. But my bigger point is, what’s the point? Right now, Acrisure has a premium location in downtown Pittsburgh and it’s walkable to PNC Park. It adds a level of charm to the city to have it’s two major sports stadiums so close together.
Work needs to be done, though. So money should be spent on renovations, not rebuilding. Pittsburgh is never going to be a city that hosts Super Bowls. There won’t be any sort of major tourism boost by a new stadium. With all the new technology, a new stadium would be cool, and aesthetically, sure, it would look prettier than Acrisure. But the people who are going to come from out of town to see the Steelers or their favorite team play are going to be the same people. I don’t think a new stadium changes anything attendance-wise, outside of maybe adding some more seats.
Not even getting into what it would cost to tear down Acrisure and build a new stadium, probably in a new location, it just doesn’t make much sense on the surface to go somewhere new without any sort of added benefit. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Fix what needs to be fixed with renovations and add some upgrades here and there to what currently exists, but there just isn’t any sort of benefit to a brand-new stadium.
Now, if they want to change the stadium sponsor name, that’s a different story.
ALEX – THEY SHOULD
I know it might sound sacrilegious. Build a new stadium, potentially exit out of downtown Pittsburgh. But tearing down Three Rivers was an emotional tug on the heartstrings. And I think we’ve all gotten over that.
I’m no surveyor so I don’t know exactly what Pittsburgh’s options are. But I bet they can reasonably find a spot to build a new place to call home that’s just on the outskirts of town. It’s true the team’s current layout is nice, PNC Park and Acrisure Stadium are basically neighbors. but that’s not going to last forever. At some point, Pittsburgh will be building a new stadium. Might as well rip the band-aid off now. Their current home is getting to be relatively old and by the time they would actually move into their new place, it’ll be 2031, meaning Heinz Field/Acrisure will have stood for three deacdes.
As many memories as have been made there, it isn’t Lambeau or Solider Field. It’s not a historic landmark. While I’m someone normally resistant to change, the prospect of a modern stadium is exciting. Acrisure is nice, it’s a pretty place to spend a Sunday, but since it was built modern NFL stadiums have gone to another level. SoFi, Jerry’s World, Allegiant, they’re all gorgeous venues. Pittsburgh’s future stadium may not be that opulent but there’s a chance to build something pretty darn cool for the next 30 years. There’s a new name. Time for a new place.
Without getting into the weeds of getting into the financials of it, the taxpayer side of things, at a broader level, there will be a time when the Steelers move locations. Doing so once their lease is up in 2030 is as good a time as any to do it.