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El Madrigal is now the “Estadio de la Ceramica”

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The change isn’t sitting well with some Villarreal fans, but most seem happy enough.

The new stadium, with a light display showing the stadium name and sponsors.
Javi Mata twitter

Before today’s match with Barcelona, Villarreal had a big unveiling of the new (sponsored) name of what has been referred to, since the 1920’s sometime, as El Madrigal. There hard been rumors Spanish utility company Endesa would be the sponsor, but—in true 2017 fashion—someone posted video of the workers testing the lights for the grand unveiling, and the Estadio de la Cerámica name was plain to see.

The sponsors whose names were shown along with that name are important employers in Vila-real and the surrounding region:

The three “principal sponsors” are Porcelanosa, which has a huge facility you can see from the train as you head to Vila-real from Valencia; Pamesa, Sr. Roig’s company; and Argenta Ceramica, with production facilities in Vall d’Alba.

There are also four “official sponsors”, Tau Ceramica, a company in Onda; Bastile, from Alcora; Esmalglass-Itaca, which has facilities in Vila-real and elsewhere and was named the “Brand of the Year 2016-17” at the International Branding Awards (I tell you, the research I do for this blog!!), and Colorobbia.

Now Colorobbia is sort of the odd man out because they don’t make tiles—they provide glazes, frits, and so forth that tilemakers use. In addition, they are based in Florence, not the Castellon area. (They have an article on their website about helping with the renovation of putti originally made by Andrea della Robbia, so they are A-OK with me).

For those of you who have been to the stadium previously, gone is the tan/peachy tile that was there before; the building is now clad in yellow tiles (I don’t know if the Senna entry has been redone, I assume so). And there are now all sorts of LED’s that can project different colors onto that. But perhaps the most notable feature is that the area around the ground is much more open. With the demolition of the old natatorium/pavilion, there’s a much bigger area around the ground that’s open. Better for safety, and better for visual appeal.

So far, reaction has been pretty good, though (of course) there are a few people who hate to lose the El Madrigal name. I can understand that; it’s the name of an old orange grove that stood on the site. My idea would be to call the field (the grass) “El Madrigal”, so you could have “El Madrigal at the Estadio de la Cerámica”. But then, I grew up in Tennessee where we had (and as far as I know still do) Shields-Watkins Field at Neyland Stadium.

My bigger question is why the stadium wasn’t also named in Valencian, or in Valencian rather than Castilian Spanish. This is a knotty question: for those of you who don’t know, Villarreal is the Spanish name of the town, and when Sr. Roig bought the club years ago, he agreed to keep that name rather than change it to Valencian (remember, in the Franco era all the clubs had to have Spanish names). The official name of the town is Vila-real, not Villarreal; there was a municipal decree that said Valencian was the primary language and so the town name would read that way.

But, at the same time, naming the stadium in Spanish has a wider appeal, and—at a time when Catalonian independence is a big issue—it might have appeared provocative to give the stadium a Valencian name (I am not going to get into the question of whether Valencian or Catalan are separate languages, that’s a good way to get in real trouble, I will simply note they are largely identical).

At any rate, regardless of those details, and keeping in mind we don’t know how much money the club is making from this, it’s an excellent advertisement for the region’s key industry. Well done.