Pittsburgh Has Its Ketchup in a Wad Over Name Change To Grand Rapids Firm
Okay, before we start, repeat after me: "It's all about money." If you remember this simple phrase, then this news becomes much easier to swallow.
Western Pennsylvania and more specifically Pittsburgh has its collective shorts in a knot with the news that the H.J. Heinz Company, as big a part of Pittsburgh history (just flip on the History Channel) as Ford is to Detroit, announced over the weekend they will not be renewing their stadium naming rights deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
That news is bad enough for the "Yinzers", but Steelers have announced the new sponsors of the stadium name, and it's a Grand Rapids, Michigan insurance brokerage, Acrisure.
Now for sure, the Steelers just picked up a few fans in Western Michigan, but it's got to be a tough shot to the local price in Pittsburgh. But back to the top paragraph. It's all about money. Acrisure stepped up and wrote a check that Heinz wasn't willing to write.
And over the past two decades, it's something we should be getting accustomed to. In some cases, the family name and the products are synonymous, i.e, Ford Field, Wrigley Field. But in this age of the internet, you get some odd ones; the Oakland Coliseum being a great example. In the past two decades, it's been known as: Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Network Associates Coliseum, McAfee Coliseum, Overstock.com Coliseum, O.co Coliseum, and now RingCentral Coliseum.
It'll be interesting what the Yinzers come up with for a nickname. In Chicago, when Comiskey Park's rights were sold to U.S. Cellular, the fans started calling it "The Cell". The current sponsor is a mortgage company named Guaranteed Rate (complete with an arrow pointing down as the logo). Some of the locals call it "Zero Interest Field", but in spite of everything, most folks call it Sox Park or Comiskey, and the guess is the same will happen in Pittsburgh. A couple of generations will still call it "Heinz", though the two giant ketchup bottles are coming down.