FC Tokyo and Japanese IT firm Mixi will cooperate toward the construction of a new stadium in central Tokyo as part of a multi-year sponsorship agreement, according to a Friday-morning report from Sports Hochi.
The deal, valued at roughly 150 million yen (US$1.3m) per year, will see the logo of Mixi subsidiary and smartphone game developer XFLAG displayed over the right collarbone of Tokyo’s 2018 uniform.
Additionally, the club and Mixi are targeting an area in the southern part of central Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park as the site of a new football-specific stadium which would seat between 30,000 and 40,000 fans and become Tokyo’s new home ground.
The Hochi report cites a September 2015 decision to include Ajinomoto Stadium as a venue in the 2019 Rugby world Cup as a major impetus for FC Tokyo to seek a new home ground in the future. With Ajinomoto unavailable for two months before and during the tournament, there are no other stadiums in the city capable of holding Tokyo’s average crowd of over 24,000 fans per match.
A move would make FC Tokyo the first J.League team to relocate to the central Tokyo area; the old National Stadium was used occasionally by several clubs in eastern Japan to accommodate capacity requirements or home stadium unavailability.
The news represents a potential major setback for the Japanese government, which is pursuing new residents for the controversial New National Stadium after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. A move to the 80,000-seat venue is reportedly considered “unrealistic” by FC Tokyo, citing 2.4 billion yen (over US$21 million) in yearly upkeep costs.
Japanese media have previously reported that Tokyo Verdy, Yokohama F. Marinos, and Kashima Antlers have also been approached as potential occupants for the 2020 centrepiece, which is now in danger of becoming a white elephant.