Raymond Boyd / Getty Images
The Heinz brand has a long history in the Pittsburgh area, founded on the outskirts of the city in 1869. In 2001, the condiment maker was brought further to the forefront when the H. J. Heinz Company purchased the naming rights to the city's then-new football stadium, which came to be called Heinz Field.
But after last year's NFL season, those rights expired and were scooped up by the insurance company Acrisure. And it wasn't just the Heinz name that had to go. Above the scoreboard, the Heinz Field logo was flanked by two giant ketchup bottles, both of which are being removed this week.
Social media was quickly flooded with videos of the downfall of the bottles, which had adorned the scoreboard since the stadium first opened. According to an old Pittsburgh Steelers media guide, they were built to be a scaled replica of a real 14-ounce Heinz Ketchup glass bottle, including an embossed "57" on the neck. Each one is 35 feet tall by 9 feet wide, and weighs in at 8,000 pounds. And if both were filled with actual ketchup, the resulting 1.664 million fluid ounces could have provided every seat at Heinz Field the equivalent of a 14-ounce bottle worth of condiment to take home.
— Julia Felton (@JuliaFelton16) July 18, 2022
So, unsurprisingly, the bottles weren't easy to move. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that a crew from Century Steel Erectors got an early start to build the 50-foot crane required to get the bottles down from atop the scoreboard. And Chris Kirich, a foreman for Century Steel, told the paper that removal of the first bottle out of the stadium took a couple of hours before it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and taken to an unknown location. The second bottle is reportedly being dealt with today.
What isn't clear, however, is where the bottles will go from here. Reached for comment, a Heinz spokesperson said that, despite the name change, the locally-headquartered brand "will remain a significant, long-term sponsor of the Steelers," adding that they are "excited to announce the details of our new partnership in the days ahead." Pressed further about what will happen to the bottles specifically, the spokesperson added that the company had no comment at this time — which at least implies that something may happen with the bottles in the future. Needless to say, if the bottles do find a new home, they should be pretty conspicuous.