Kraft Heinz Unlikely To Keep Naming Rights On Steelers' Stadium
Kraft Heinz has "held title rights" to Heinz Field since the building opened in '01, but "no one across the naming-rights industry expects the Heinz name to be on the stadium" after its current deal expires in '21, according to Terry Lefton in this week's SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that while Heinz is "still at the table, the distance between buyer and (re) seller is vast." One "principal reason" for the divide is that Heinz is "no longer locally headquartered." Kraft acquired Heinz in '15, "meaning decisions like this one will be rendered" in Chicago. Further complicating a potential renewal by Heinz are "flagging sales at the parent and the recent downgrade by S&P Global of Kraft Heinz' rating." Kraft Heinz is "paying an average" of $2.85M for the naming rights, "well below NFL standards." While the "incumbent hasn't officially walked, a renewal is highly unlikely." Sources said that Kraft Heinz "wouldn't be averse to walking away early, should the Steelers land a new naming-rights sponsor." Various sales agencies have been pitching the Steelers, but it is "unclear" if the team has "chosen one, or if it will use one at all to sell naming rights" (SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/29 issue).