Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Sláinte: Celebrating the Steelers presence in Ireland

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It has been a busy year for the Pittsburgh Steelers on the island of Ireland. With today being St Patrick’s Day, it seems like a natural point to reflect on the work done by the organization over the past year.

Steelers awarded rights to the island of Ireland

Last May, the Steelers were awarded the rights to expand their team activities in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This initiative is part of the NFL’s Global Markets Program. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Rooney family are synonymous with the island of Ireland, a point in which President Art Rooney II expanded on at the time. “My family has deep roots throughout Ireland and being able to connect with our fans across the Island is something special to our organization”, he said. “My father did so much in Ireland during his lifetime, first as one of the founders of the Ireland Funds, then as Ambassador. We look forward to growing our fan base and the love of American football in the years to come.”

A mere two days following the announcement, the Steelers celebrated the news in an iconic setting: Dublin’s Croke Park Stadium, where the team played a preseason game against the Chicago Bears in the American Bowl series in 1997. To this day, it is the only NFL game that has taken place in the stadium. Former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart, who played in the game was in the stadium for the announcement, alongside Steelers Director of Business Development & Strategy, Dan Rooney – the son of Steelers President Art Rooney II and grandson of the late Steelers owner Daniel M. Rooney, who also served as the United States Ambassador to Ireland from 2009-2012.

For Dan, the connection between the Rooney family and Ireland was clear to see at Croke Park. “For the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ireland is a special place. It’s part of us. It’s part of our being”, he said. “We’re proud to say it’s not only part of our past, but also our future. We look forward to engaging Ireland with our fans across the island, those that are already members of Steelers Nation, twirling their Terrible Towels, or new fans that will learn about the Steelers through the events and initiatives we plan to bring.”

In the following days, the Steelers also visited Northern Ireland and held a launch event in Belfast, as Dan and Kordell Stewart met with business and political leaders in Newry, an area close to the Rooney family heart, where the family emigrated from in the 1840’s.

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