For Steelers' long snapper Greg Warren being on the Heinz Field turf is nothing new. And under normal circumstances, when he is on the field, fans are cheering for him and his Steelers' teammates. On Saturday night the tables were turned. Warren was on the field, but this time as a fan at the Taylor Swift "RED Tour" concert, enjoying the fun from floor seats with his wife Ashley and singing along with the rest of the energized crowd.
"It's great to be able to go into the stadium where I am used to being a part of the performance and be able to enjoy someone else and their performance," said Warren. "Someone like Taylor Swift is a huge pop icon. It's easy to enjoy someone that puts on an exciting show like she does. I loved kicking back and enjoying myself."
While Warren loves seeing black and gold overtake Heinz Field on game days, he also liked that the concert showcased the stadium to a different crowd, many of them teenagers and their parents from Pittsburgh and around the country, who might not make it to Steelers games.
"We have such a great stadium that it's nice for other people to be able to come see it and enjoy it," said Warren. "It's great for the North Shore and the City of Pittsburgh to have this concert and others like it. The events that come to the city are really enjoyable and Heinz Field is a perfect spot for us to come and enjoy these types of events."
It's the second time in three years that Swift has made Heinz Field a stop on one of her concert tours, previously playing there in 2011.
"We are thrilled to be one of the select cities on her tour this year, and for her to come back here is something we are proud of," said Jim Sacco, Director of Stadium Management. "It's not just great for Heinz Field, but for the whole community."
Others who enjoyed the concert were kids from some area agencies, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Allegheny Children's Institute, all able to attend after the Steelers donated tickets to Tickets for Kids® Charities.
"The donation of the Taylor Swift tickets sent a real ripple of excitement through the Tickets for Kids® offices," said Rosemary Mendel, Executive Director of Tickets for Kids® Charities. "Any donation is extremely generous, but to receive so many tickets for one of the most popular young performers in the country is a real joy. When our agencies found out we had these tickets to distribute, it was like we were giving away birthday presents. We're extremely grateful to the Steelers organization and Heinz Field for helping us make our TFK kids so happy."
The concert wasn't just a highlight for those attending. The Pittsburgh region as a whole, as well as North Shore and Downtown restaurants and hotels, felt the effects of the Swift concert, as well as other summer events at Heinz Field.
The concert itself brought in around $483,000 in tax revenue, with a good portion coming from amusement taxes. Some of the revenue also came from ticket surcharges, parking and drink taxes, stadium usage fees and Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania payroll taxes.
"The economic impact is enormous, from the revenue to the jobs it provides for workers," said Sacco. "It has a major impact on the surrounding businesses and makes the North Shore even more viable. It's another way Heinz Field demonstrates its versatility."
Those at the Jerome Bettis Grille 36, which sits on the banks of North Shore next to Heinz Field, were thrilled to have the extra traffic during a time when the sports teams weren't in town.
"The concerts and events draw local, regional and national guests to our city," said Jerome Bettis Grille 36 partner Howard A. Shiller. "They come, spend money, have a great experience and see that Pittsburgh is one of the best kept secrets in America. The quality of our venues, the cleanliness of our streets, the incredible views from the North Shore of the city and the rivers that people get to admire while experiencing an incredible concert or sporting event helps make Pittsburgh a 21st century city."
The Swift concert wrapped a bow around a busy Fourth of July holiday weekend at Heinz Field. Florida Georgia Line, country music's hottest new band, performed at Heinz Field on July 4, entertaining the crowd that gathered to watch the city's spectacular fireworks show and enjoy food, fun and games.
"Heinz Field has become a destination," said Sacco. "We are proud to showcase it and the City of Pittsburgh with the Taylor Swift concert and other exciting events."
Fourth of July at Heinz Field with Florida-Georgia Line wearing Steelers jerseys.