PITTSBURGH (KDKA)–In the stands at Heinz Field at any given Steelers home game, you will find fans like Sven Muessigbrodt from Germany.
“When did you become a Steelers fan?” KDKA money editor Jon Delano asked him on Monday after he had attended Sunday’s Steelers game.
Muessigbrodt: “January 15, 1995.”
Delano: “You know that precisely?”
Muessigbrodt: “First time I had the chance to watch a Steelers game in Germany. From that moment on, my blood turned black and gold.”
So black and gold that he’s come to Pittsburgh for a half dozen games.
He’s hardly alone.
“We are one of the leaders of all 32 teams in the NFL for international marketing,” says Nick Sero, Heinz Field’s communications manager.
At each game, over 30 countries are represented, says Sero.
“We have seen fans check in from as far as Fiji, China, Japan, Germany, England, France. You name it, at this point I think we’ve touched almost every continent.”
No surprise. Mexico and Canada send the most international fans to Heinz Field.
“Every single game we have buses that come from Canada and Mexico that make that trip.”
“But what people don’t realize is that we have as much of a reach across the pond, if you will, that come for every game.”
And that means money spent in Pittsburgh.
“I think this trip cost me between $1,500 and $2,000,” says Guido Emde, also from Germany.
Emde can’t seem to get enough of the Steelers.
After last Sunday’s game, he’s off to Houston on business, and then, he says, “On Friday, I’m flying from Houston to San Francisco to attend the Steelers game on Sunday against the Forty-Niners.”
Here in Pittsburgh at any individual home game for the Steelers, there are over a thousand fans in these stands who come from foreign countries.
And the one thing they will always tell you is how friendly the people of Pittsburgh are to them.
“For sure, our international fans are just like our local fans,” notes Sero.
“They are more loyal, have more desire, and are more in love with the Pittsburgh Steelers than any other team in the NFL.”