Unilever Stadium Shintomi, the new home stadium of newly-promoted J3 League side Tegevajaro Miyazaki, opened on Sunday with the home side taking on Iwate Grulla Morioka in this season’s opening fixture.

Miyazaki had previously been the only prefecture without a J-League club in Japan’s south-western Kyushu Island but J-League has finally arrived and the residents of the tiny rural town of Shintomi where the new stadium was built will be able to enjoy professional football matches on a regular basis from now on.

Shintomi is known for the Japan Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF) Nyutabaru Airbase and prior to the kick-off, four F-15 fighter planes flew past the main stand to celebrate the opening of the stadium and the first-ever J-League match for the home side.

Unilever Stadium Shintomi, which consists of the newly-built main stand and two turfed hills behind the goals, has a capacity of 5,000 but it can be expanded in the future as the club grows and when they feel they are ready to launch for promotions to the higher leagues. The total construction costs for the main stand, the two hills behind the goals, and the pitch were estimated at approximately JPY1bn (£6.6m/€7.7m/$9.2m).

The main stand sits right next to the pitch with the closest part of the front-row seats being only seven metres away from the action. Two parking lots for nearly 730 cars also opened adjacent to the stadium.

Unilever Japan Customer Marketing, a subsidiary of Unilever Japan, which formed a partnership with Shintomi Town in July 2019, also acquired the naming rights to the stadium.

The J-League is following the government’s guidelines for attendance restrictions for sporting events and a maximum of only 2,500 were allowed to enter the stadium for the match but a cheerful crowd of 1,768 enjoyed the special occasion on a warm spring day, although the away team ended up being the happier of the two sides eventually winning 1-0.

Images: THE STADIUM HUB/The Good Bankers

Article provided by The Stadium Hub