On a recent trip I saw this Pittsburgh Steeler painted USAirways plane on the ground in Detroit. Since things like this don’t ever happen without press releases, it is pretty easy to find the story about this plane. As part of the marketing agreement with the Steelers, USAirways painted the plane to support operations and employees in Pittsburgh and a 60 year history in the city.
The marketing side of this is more clearly stated by Steelers Director of Marketing Tony Quatrini. “A Steelers-themed airplane is fitting because we have fans who travel from all over the country on US Airways to see our games.”
This trend of decorative paint schemes has a long history, with Southwest painting planes since the mid 1990s. Many planes honored destinations served by the airline, but there have been several Southwest planes painted as part of marketing agreements (Shamu One: Sea World and Slam Dunk One: NBA).
Here are some links:
USA Today Gallery of Decorative Planes
Aviation.com Gallery of Southwest Planes