Steelers want to place an ad in the lower bowl seating at Heinz Field

Mike Florio
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

There’s only so many places that cheese can be crammed into a pizza, and there’s only so much money that can be squeezed out of the placement of advertising on, and in, an NFL stadium.

The Steelers, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, want to place a sign into the lower-bowl seating at Heinz Field, which would be visible only then the yellow seats are completely or mostly empty. (The Post-Gazette has the proposed image, showing “ABCDE FIELD” in black letters, in the lower seating area at the north end of the stadium.) Before implementing the change, the Steelers will need to win the approval of Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The question becomes whether the lettering constitutes an interior sign or an exterior sign. The Steelers contend that it’s an interior sign not intended to be seen outside the stadium. The zoning administrator determined otherwise, and that the letters are too large.

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“On May 23, representatives from Heinz Field will attend a zoning board hearing to appeal a determination by the city’s zoning administrator that signage in the interior of the stadium is subject to the zoning code’s regulations for exterior signage,” the team said in a statement provided to the Post-Gazette.

The Steelers haven’t decided on the contents of the sign. The 20-year naming-rights deal for the venue, which opened in 2001, will expire after the 2020 season. Heinz paid $57 million ($2.85 million per year, on average) to attach its name to the venue.

This change obviously is aimed at adding value to the naming-rights deal at the venue, whether the rights are purchased again by Heinz or by a different company.

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