The Steelers surely knew that fans would not blindly embrace the sudden and dramatic change in the name of the stadium where the team plays. And the fans most definitely are not blindly embracing it.
One fan has created a vehicle for the consolidation of scattered complaints about the name. A Change.org petition launched on Thursday has, as of this posting, more than 1,500 signatures.
“An out-of-state sponsor comes in and inflicts this name change on us that isn’t even easy to pronounce,” the petition asserts.
Don’t blame it on the sponsor. The Steelers sold the naming rights, and they opted to seek the highest amount in return them. They surely could sold the rights to a local business (or to Heinz, which is no longer local after being purchased by Kraft) for a lot less than they’re getting from Acrisure.
Obviously, it’s a meaningless gesture. The Steelers won’t be tearing up the deal and giving back the money. And the fans will huff and puff, but they’re ultimately not going to blow anyone’s house down.
The real question is this. Will Steelers fans simply refuse to call the place by its new name? What if we all agreed to keep calling it Heinz Field? Or the Field formerly known as Heinz?
Maybe, at some point, the Steelers would opt for a middle ground, if everyone keeps calling it Heinz Field. How about Heinz Field at Acrisure Stadium? Acrisure surely wouldn’t be happy about that, given what they’ll be paying in order to establish a national brand.