The reach of the Pittsburgh Steelers will officially expand to the Republic of Ireland, thanks to the franchise receiving official marketing rights to the island as part of the NFL’s Global Markets Program.
The program is part of the NFL’s push to expand the reach of the league internationally, which started in January 2022. Tuesday, the program expanded, and that included a push into France, Ireland, Austria and Switzerland.
Pittsburgh, which already has marketing rights in Mexico, received marketing rights for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland Tuesday. The rights run for at least a five-year term, during which a club has the rights to pursue activities in that international market that are consistent with what they can do in their home market.
“We are excited to have been granted the rights to engage more deeply with our fans in Ireland,” Steelers President Art Rooney II said in a statement to Steelers.com. “My family has deep roots throughout Ireland and being able to connect with our fans across the Island is something special to our organization. My father did so much in Ireland during his lifetime, first as one of the founders of the Ireland Funds, then as Ambassador. We look forward to growing our fan base and the love of American football in the years to come.”
Through the Global Markets program and the marketing rights, the Steelers will be able to host in-person activities such as fan and youth football activities throughout Ireland. The marketing license also enables the Steelers to partake in corporate sponsorships and merchandise sales, as well as co-marketing relationships throughout the island of Ireland, according to the release from the Steelers.
The Steelers’ history in Ireland dates back many years. The Rooney family, of course, is from Ireland. The late Dan Rooney served as the United States Ambassador to Ireland from 2009-2012. He also helped establish the Ireland Funds, a program founded to promote and support peace, culture, education and community development across Ireland and among Irish communities around the world.
Prior to that, the Steelers played the Chicago Bears in a preseason game in 1997 at Dublin’s Croke Park, the only NFL game to be played in Ireland. Through the Global Markets Program, the Steelers are aiming to play a game in Ireland once again, according to Steelers.com.