The calls for an on-campus stadium in Oakland have been prevalent over the years, and while that will not happen any time soon, Pitt will reportedly not be playing at Heinz Field in 2022 — neither will the Steelers.
According to a report from 93.7 The Fan’s Andrew Fillipponi, the H.J. Heinz Company will not renew naming rights with the stadium. As soon as next week, he reports, a new name for Heinz Field could be announced.
Breaking: Heinz Field is no more. The ketchup giant will not extend its naming rights deal for 2022. Sources say a new name for the stadium could be announced this week.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) July 11, 2022
The Heinz Company, the world-famous ketchup brand and perhaps Pittsburgh’s most notable brand, has owned the naming rights to Heinz Field since even before the opening of the stadium.
The original 20-year, $57 million naming rights deal (an homage of Heinz 57, of course) was extended as the deal came to an end in 2021, but the two sides were apparently unable to come together to strike a deal this time around.
With Heinz (Kraft-Heinz after a 2015 merger between two industry giants) backing off naming rights, it will be up the highest bidder to secure new naming rights, and companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods, 84 Lumber and UPMC have already been discussed.
Perhaps the very first official stadium that Pitt can claim is Exposition Park, on the North Shore where Heinz Field and PNC Park now stand, from 1904-08, while still under the name of Western University of Pennsylvania.
Pitt began playing at old Forbes Field in 1909, but after 15 years of sharing the park with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt moved to the newly-built Pitt Stadium in Oakland.
Pitt spent 74 years playing at Pitt Stadium, from 1925 through 1999, and in those 74 years, Pitt won six national championships, claimed a Heisman winner (the great Tony Dorsett) and established a name brand across college football.
A one year stay at Three Rivers Stadium in 2000, a 7-5 season with wins over Penn State and West Virginia, gave way to the past 21 years at Heinz Field.
While it wasn’t always easy sailing, Pitt went 153-113 throughout a run as a member of the Big East (2001-12) and the ACC (2013-21). The 2021 season saw the emergence of Kenny Pickett as a Heisman finalist and Pitt’s first ACC championship in program history.
With two division titles and a conference championship over the last five seasons, Pitt has seen an upturn in success under head coach Pat Narduzzi, and despite a name change, Pitt should continue to win in Pittsburgh.