J.League Club Albirex Niigata Signs Chemical Company Denka As Stadium Sponsor
Japan Professional Football League Division 1 side Albirex Niigata has signed chemical giant Denka (Denki Kagaku Kogyo) as the new sponsor for its home stadium after struggling utility Tohoku Electric Power Co. pulled the plug on its naming-rights deal. Denka will begin sponsorship of the stadium in January in a three-year deal worth 70M yen ($700,000) annually. The name of the 42,300-seat stadium, built for the Japan-Korea 2002 FIFA World Cup, will change to the Denka Big Swan Stadium. It has been known as the Tohoku Denryoku Big Swan Stadium since March '07. Tohoku Electric decided in August to pull out of the sponsorship deal because of the losses incurred by having its nuclear reactors shut down since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March '11. All of Japan’s 50 operable reactors are currently offline. Denka said in a statement, “The Niigata Stadium, as well as being the home stadium for J.League team Albirex Niigata, is also used for other events, and attracts more than 800,000 visitors a year. Our company has a factory in Niigata Prefecture that makes vaccines and medical screening products, as well as other group companies located there.” Albirex Niigata is currently 11th in the 18-team J1 Division.
Gavin Blair is a writer in Tokyo.