Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

The Steel Curtain is rising at Kennywood

November 7, 2018, 7:14 PM · Kennywood tweeted video today of construction going vertical on its upcoming Pittsburgh Steelers-themed S&S coaster.

The roller coaster will feature a US-record nine inversions on 4,000 feet of track. Steel Curtain also will rise to 220 feet and hit a maximum speed of 75 mph when it opens next year. S&S Worldwide will give us a first look at Steel Curtain's trains when it official unveils the coaster model next week at the IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando. In the meantime, you can get a preview of Steel Curtain from Kennywood's "First Look" animated POV video:

Steel Curtain will anchor the new Steelers Country land in the park, creating the first major US theme park land themed to a professional sports franchise. In case you missed it, we talked with design director Rick O'Connell about the new land in our discussion last week about sports-themed attractions around the world.

Stay tuned for our coverage of Steel Curtain from IAAPA next week, following through to its opening next year.

Replies (7)

November 8, 2018 at 7:15 AM

Something just doesn't sit well with me about this addition (the "Steelers Country" miniland, not the ride itself). What makes it even worse is that its at a park known for being a quirky independent park but now that it has corporate overlords this is like the most stereotypical corporate thing they can possibly add. This looks like something that would be at a Cedar Fair park like Dorney or Valleyfair.

IMO we shouldn't be celebrating the NFL even more than we already do. When I go into "Steelers Country" I have the feeling in the back of my head like the employees are going to go to Miami and make show the money youtube videos, grope uber drivers, get arrested for going to a nightclub and not paying, beat their girlfriends, and the area is going to have drunk people getting in fights. I was at a restaurant once and a pro-Arena football team was eating there and OMG the rudeness, language, the way they were dressed (obscenities written one of the players shirt). It's just a real scummy industry.

I do realize this kind of thing won't happen much at Kennywood but just being around an area themed to it rubs me the wrong way.

November 8, 2018 at 9:02 AM

It might rub you and many others the wrong way the_man, but the bank-ability of the NFL is no joke. NFL games are the highest rating programs in any time slot across broadcast, cable, and streaming television. Whether you agree with the culture, employee behavior, and/or marketing doesn't change the fact that the NFL is one of the most profitable entities on the planet (sports or not).

I don't know what the financials are in terms of the licensing here (whether it is an NFL license or just a license through the Steelers - individual teams have some flexibility within the league to license their own merchandise, trademarks, etc...), but I think this will be an interesting development to watch. The Steelers are probably one of maybe 5 to 8 NFL teams (Packers, Cowboys, Giants, 49ers, Eagles, and Patriots currently) that have a national reach, which is what it will take to put Steelers Country on a level beyond your typical regional theme park land. If this can draw more than just casual locals, it will demonstrate the drawing power of sports IPs.

That's what theme parks need to do to survive. Parks are always looking to grow, and if a currently untapped audience of sports fans can find interest in going to a theme park, that can represent a huge opportunity for growth.

November 8, 2018 at 9:45 AM

Many eons ago, I was dating a die-hard Steelers fan and I remember a local grocery store we had shopped at for years, suddenly became "a proud sponsor of the Baltimore Ravens". Well you would have thought the world was coming to an end! You think there is a division of ideology in US politics?? You haven't seen anything until you witness a Steeler fan walking among a sea of purple and black cutouts and balloons!!! Needless to say, we could never return to that store again.

So sure...a park risks turning off opposing team "super fan bases". Yet I have a feeling that with the geographical location of Kennywood, they're not going to care.

November 8, 2018 at 10:36 AM

Echoing Russell's point, if this ends up looking good - and with JRA's involvement designing it, it will - then I cannot imagine that Jerry Jones won't call up Six Flags Over Texas, which is located next door to the Dallas Cowboys' stadium, and ask how he and the Cowboys can get a land like this, too.

November 8, 2018 at 11:21 AM

I finally took the time to watch the animated POV video. Wow! Who cares what the theming is about (within reason of course)! That's an incredible coaster!

I'm actually amazed that the NFL hasn't already gotten more of a presence in the theme park/amusement park industry. People go to theme parks for fun and entertainment. People go to football games for fun and entertainment. There's really no difference. And for what it's worth, is there really any difference between the fat, 50-year old wearing his favorite team's jersey every Sunday and screaming at the TV or the playing field and the 10-year old with his favorite house colors and wand strolling around Diagon Alley or Hogwarts at Universal Orlando on any given weekend?

(Ok, for you literalists out there, there are differences like blood alcohol content, 200 lbs of body mass, 40 years of lethargy, levels of delusion, etc.)

But the point is that both sets of fans are buying a fantasy, and if both the local NFL franchise and the local theme park can create some synergy by mixing brands and enhancing revenue streams, more power to them! Dad can get his thrill of being part of "his" team while the kids get get their thrills on the coasters and flat rides. Sounds like a winning combination to me! (Except for Mom, not sure what's in it for her other than she doesn't have to pretend to be interested in some game and she doesn't have to make the appetizers.)

November 8, 2018 at 12:38 PM

If this indeed winds up looking good, possibly every NFL, MLB, NBA, even NHL team is probably going to be jockeying for a land at their local Six Flags, Cedar Fair, Seaworld Park.

November 9, 2018 at 11:45 AM

Yes, Tim Hillman. What could women possibly get out of this? No women like sports at all. RME.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Buy Tickets

Plan a Trip

Get News, Discounts