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Steelers Awarded Marketing Rights, Planning Return to Ireland



Pittsburgh Steelers' chairman Dan Rooney speaks on stage flanked by his son the team president Art Rooney II, right, and players tight end Heath Miller, left, and wide receiver Antonio Brown during an NFL fan rally event in Regent Street, London, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. The Minnesota Vikings are to play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley stadium in London on Sunday, Sept. 29 in a regular season NFL game. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced that the NFL granted the team marketing rights for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland through the league’s Global Markets Program.

“We are excited to have been granted the rights to engage more deeply with our fans in Ireland. My family has deep roots throughout Ireland and being able to connect with our fans across the island is something special to our organization. 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,” said Steelers President Art Rooney.

The Global Markets Program allows teams to engage international markets in an effort to expand the brand of the teams and the NFL as a whole. The program is in its second year and has paired 21 different teams to 14 different countries. The Steelers now own marketing rights in Mexico, Ireland, and Northern Ireland.

The Steelers already have a deep connection with the Republic of Ireland due to the late Dan Rooney. In 2009, President Obama named Dan Rooney as the United States ambassador to Ireland and he remained as such until 2012 when he resigned and moved back to Pittsburgh.

The connection runs even deeper than that as the city of Dublin, Ireland hosted a preseason game between the Steelers and the Chicago Bears at Croke Park in 1997, which is the only time the NFL was in Ireland.

The Steelers expressed long-term interest in returning to Ireland to play in another game in front of the Irish faithful. The team already created social media accounts dedicated to its Irish fanbase and plans to host watch parties, flag-football games, and other types of events in Ireland during the upcoming season.

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