Ahead of tonight’s Villarreal – FC Barcelona game supporters were treated to a multimedia show that celebrated Estadio El Madrigal renamed to Estadio de la Cerámica.
Tonight at 20:45 the La Liga classic against Barcelona began in Villarreal. For us it’s more important what happened before the game. Already two hours earlier fans were gathering on the plaza of renovated south-western stand to enjoy official renaming ceremony.
The new bright yellow façade of 2,000 m2 of ceramic tiles was used as a giant screen on which video presentation and lighting patterns were displayed. Roughly 6,000 people enjoyed the ceremony. A lot more are expected to see the stadium glow on a daily basis, though regular illumination will be somewhat less spectacular: 500 LED lamps will display colours and patterns but not necessarily videos.
Using ceramics for any stadium’s cladding is a rare solution, partly due to the weight of such material. For safety reasons the tiles hanged above fans in Villarreal have double fixing.
Why go through the extra trouble? The name is commercialized even if Estadio de la Cerámica doesn’t include any specific company. Already 7 regional manufacturers of ceramics decided to be listed under this umbrella name, contributing roughly €3 million annually in sponsorship fees. The city and club authorities estimate they could reach a deal worth €8 million in the future, should other companies of the industry join.
The remodeled south-west stand is only the first of four phases of the remodeling. Further works will gradually be delivered in order to reinvent the stadium’s public image and upgrade its standard.