PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have not played an international game in over a decade, but that could very well change soon for the team with a large international fanbase.
Steelers team president Art Rooney II gave an update that he believes the team will play an international game in the near future, and that they take pride in that with a large fanbase from around the world. In fact, Rooney has no qualms with giving up a home game as a result of that.
“Look, we like to play at home for sure, and we’re reluctant to give up a home game, but the other side of the coin is we’re fortunate to have fans in other countries. We’d like to play in front of them once in a while. So, I expect in the near future we’ll be in an international game.”
That game could be in Mexico, which is designated as a home market area for the Steelers. It will not be in 2023, as Azteca undergoes a construction project in relation to the 2026 World Cup. However, the next time it does host a game, potentially in 2024, Pittsburgh could be on that list. The last time Pittsburgh went internationally was in 2013 when they played the Vikings in London.
Giving up a home game is likely to happen if the Steelers end up heading on the road to an international game. But Rooney has no issue doing that since Pittsburgh has not traveled internationally in years. Whenever the next time they are called upon to do that, they will do it happily. The lease does not factor into the home game, either. So, the next time Pittsburgh does travel internationally, they should be able to do that without restriction. However, if they do end up going internationally, Mexico is likely the destination.
“We would definitely like to play in Mexico again sometime soon,” Rooney said. “We have a great fanbase down there, and we have the right under the new international program the league has to have more of a presence in Mexico. And in addition, we now have a preseason television agreement down there where the preseason games will be on. Our radio broadcasts are on in Mexico, so that’s a presence we’d like to build on.”
Pittsburgh can not play internationally this season, but it would not be a surprise to see that come to fruition during the 2024 season.
Alan Saunders contributed reporting from Pittsburgh