Niigata "Big Swan"Stadium
(aka Tohoku Denryoku Stadium)
Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture
|Niigata prefecture lies on the cool northern coast of Japan's main island, facing the Japan Sea. The city of Niigata lies at the heart of a rich coastal plain, carpeted by green rice fields, which is backed by towering mountains. It is the largest Japanese city on the Japan Sea coast, but even so, it is a rather sedate and cozy city with a population of about 530,000. It is located approximately 300km northwest of Tokyo, or about three or four hours by car or train, though the fastest Shinkansen bullet trains make the trip in 1 hour and 40 minutes. Niigata has been a prosperous port city since the Edo period, because of its position at the center of the key trade routes in the Sea of Japan.
|Although football fever was a bit late in arriving in Niigata, local fans have more than made up for their late start. When Japan's J.League was formed in 1992, there were no teams from northern Japan or the Japan sea coast. However, a few local second-division teams were formed at this time, and they quickly attracted huge and loyal followings. This seems to be partly because there are no baseball teams in the region, so football does not have to compete with Japan's other major sport.
In any event, Niigata's local team, Albirex Niigata, soon advanced to become a member of the J.League's second division (J2), and in 2004, finally gained admittance to the top division. The team led the league in total attendance in 2004. This may be partly a tribute to the beautiful World Cup stadium that has become the team's new home ground. Niigata Stadium takes its nickname, "Big Swan", from the team mascot -- a white swan named "Albireo". It is a truly magnificent facility which, despite the presence of a running track around the field, has a cozy and comfortable feeling even when it is filled with 50,000 screaming Albirex fans.
|Niigata Prefectural Stadium ("Big Swan")||Capacity: 42,279|
|Home Team: Albirex Niigata||Completed: March 2001|
|Location:Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture, Japan|
|Architect: Nikken Sekkei Co.Ltd||General Contractors: Kajima Corporation, Fukuda Corporation, Shimizu Corporation, etc.|
|Building Area: 36,702.67m2||Total Floor Area: 88,417.71m2|
|Covered Area: 23,500m2||Stand Inclination: Max. 32 degree angle|
|Building Structure: Steel frame ferro-concrete structure with partially precast steel framed ferro-concrete|
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