Heinz Field is a stadium located at Exit 2B of Interstate 279 and the terminus of "Expressway" 65 on the North Shore of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It primarily serves as the home to the Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Pittsburgh Panthers American football teams, members of the National Football League (NFL) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) respectively. It hosted the 2011 NHL Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals on January 1st 2011. The stadium opened in 2001, after the controlled implosion of the teams' previous stadium, Three Rivers Stadium. The stadium is named for locally based H. J. Heinz Company, which purchased the naming rights in 2001.
Funded in conjunction with PNC Park and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the US$281 million stadium stands along the Ohio River, on the Northside of Pittsburgh in the North Shore neighborhood. The stadium was designed with the city of Pittsburgh's history of steel production in mind, which led to the inclusion of 12,000 tons of steel into the design. Ground for the stadium was broken in June 1999 and the first football game was hosted in September 2001. The stadium's natural grass surface has been criticized throughout its history, but Steelers ownership has kept the grass after lobbying from players and coaches. Attendance for the 65,050 seat stadium has sold out for every Steelers home game, a streak which dates back to 1972 (a year before local telecasts of home games were permitted in the NFL). A collection of memorabilia from the Steelers and Panthers of the past can be found in the Coca-Cola Great Hall.