PITTSBURGH (CelebrityAccess) – American food giant Kraft Heinz is ‘highly unlikely’ to renew its stadium naming rights deal with the National Football League’s (NFL) Pittsburgh Steelers when the existing contract expires in 2021, according to Sports Business Journal (SBJ).
The 68,000-seater venue has been known as Heinz Field since opening in 2001. SBJ claims that the main reason for the split is that Heinz is no longer headquartered in Pittsburgh. The company has been based in Chicago since its 2015 merger with Kraft Foods Group.
The original 20-year deal signed by the Steelers and Heinz was reported to be worth US$57 million. That’s $2.85 million per year – well below NFL standards. SBJ says Heinz is still in negotiations over extending the agreement and would be willing to prolong it at a cost of ‘mid-seven figures’ per year, however, the Steelers are apparently seeking a contract worth something closer to US$10 million or more annually.
With The Philadelphia Eagles having recently renewed Lincoln Financial’s naming rights for an average of $12 million per year, and SoFi reportedly expected to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $20 million per annum for its pending 20-year deal with the new Rams/Chargers stadium, the recent back-and-forth between Heinz and the Steelers highlights a growing issue – it costs an exorbitant (and rising) amount of money to slap a company’s name on a stadium and that’s proving increasingly difficult even for the biggest of brands.
Kraft Heinz spokesman Michael Mullen recently told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 that Kraft Heinz and the Steelers “are committed to the partnership for at least the next two seasons, and we look forward to ongoing discussions related to the future.”