ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Doug Wolter: Pittsburgh runs out of ketchup

Should a sports stadium be named, then re-named? Yes, if the money's right

Doug Wolter
Doug Wolter
We are part of The Trust Project.

Football fans in Pittsburgh are going to have a hard time getting used to calling their newly-renamed stadium “Acrisure Field.”

In youth baseball, there are different personalities on the field, and different ways to cheer and encourage

Granted, since 2001 they have been calling the home of their beloved Steelers “Heinz Field.” Named after a ketchup.

But old habits die hard. Last week the NFL team announced that a business called Acrisure will grace the structure’s face, a reality which will continue at least until 2035 when the naming contract runs out. Fans of the NFL franchise are miffed.

I can’t say I’m bothered by it, of course, because I’m not a Steelers fan. But I am amused.

Most of us have never heard of Acrisure, which apparently is an insurance brokerage company. Well, OK. Sounds like a brand of deodorant to me.

ADVERTISEMENT

Name changes of sports teams. Name changes of sports stadiums. It’s all part of a larger game these days, where things we once accepted as fixed -- from founding fathers’ names on school buildings to food brands -- are undergoing erasure.

Heinz Field wasn’t a problem in the sense that it was deemed racist, or anything like that. Not that it couldn’t be racist, of course. These days, pretty much everything is, anyway, if you’re into that.

No, Heinz Field was renamed for money. Heinz purchased naming rights to the Steelers’ home for $57 million 20 years ago, but the ketchup behemoth couldn’t out-bid Acrisure in 2022.

Personally, I tend to like it better when the original names of stadiums (and sports teams, too, for that matter) remained as is. It used to be that when you built a sports stadium, it kept the name until you built a new one 70 or 100 years later.

MORE BASEBALL
The Trojan girls hockey team lost 12-1 to the Blades. The Trojans were down several players due to injury and started an emergency backup at goalie.
Hall of Famer Tony Oliva and current Minnesota Twins stopped in Luverne Wednesday with the annual Winter Caravan tour
The Worthington Trojans boys basketball team is playing like a challenger in the Big South Conference and in its section

Why? It’s kind of like babies, I think. If you pick out a name for your first-born son and call him Jayson, would you want to rename him Frank on his 15th birthday?

I think not.

Consider Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox, which was built in 1912 and has been called Fenway Park ever since. There’s nothing magical about being named after the neighborhood it was fashioned in, which Fenway is, but Fenway is certainly considered a magical place today. Tell a Sox fan that you’d like to change the name and he’ll respond with a string of invectives only a northeasterner can understand.

Would you change the name of Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs, which actually opened in 1914 under another name but has been Wrigley Field ever since 1927? Perhaps the Cubs, should they need a quick infusion of cash, will sell naming rights to the highest bidder like the Steelers did, but I hope (and I suspect millions of Cubs fans agree with me) they don’t.

ADVERTISEMENT

This reminds me of the Minneapolis home of the Minnesota Twins, Target Field, which replaced the Metrodome in 2010. I wished at the time that it could simply be called “Twins Stadium” or something simple like that, but of course the franchise decided instead to sell the naming rights.

Target Field isn’t a particularly lousy name. There are worse things than being named after a retail store chain. But I hear that Target’s 25-year naming rights are up for grabs again in 2035. When that happens, who knows what will come next.

Related Topics: BASEBALL
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
What To Read Next
Members Only
Worthington Tax and Business Services' owner Bill Gordon added local and historical elements to the newly renovated office space on Third Avenue in downtown Worthington.
"It's difficult to think of a way this could have been worse,” said Deputy County Attorney Braeden Hoefert on the circumstance of the case.
In 2012, the MPCA issued a notice of violation for “discharges of inadequately treated sewage to the waters of the state from the unincorporated community of Reading.”
Monday high school sports roundup: