Heinz Field highlights the skyrocketing cost of NFL stadium naming rights
Heinz is "highly unlikely" to renew its naming rights deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers once their current contract ends in 2021, Sports Business Journal reports.
Why it matters: Kraft Heinz signed a 20-year, $57 million naming rights deal in 2001 (the 57 number being a reference to the "Heinz 57" slogan). That means they pay roughly $2.85 million per year — well below market value.
- Private lender SoFi is expected to pay roughly $400 million over 20 years to put its name on the new stadium that the Rams and Chargers will share in Inglewood, California.
- Insurance company MetLife pays a similar annual price for the Giants and Jets' shared stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
- Teams in similar markets to Pittsburgh are also bringing in far more money than the Steelers per year: Buffalo (New Era, $5 million), Cleveland (First Energy, $6 million), Nashville (Nissan, $6.5 million), Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz, $12 million).
The big picture: The Steelers' current stadium has been called Heinz Field since it opened in 2001, which means one of Pittsburgh's core landmarks could soon go by a different name for the first time in 20 years.
- Fun fact: The Steelers played their first-ever game at Heinz Field on Oct. 7, 2001, against the Cincinnati Bengals. Pittsburgh won 16-7, with Jerome Bettis and Kordell Stewart leading the way (box score).
The bottom line: Amidst skyrocketing naming rights fees, Kraft Heinz has reportedly decided to throw in the terrible towel.