One of the best baseball parks in the country will welcome a new home team for one weekend this fall as the University of North Alabama will play host to in-state and ASUN Conference rival Jacksonville State at Toyota Field on October 15 at 6 p.m.
Toyota Field, the home of the Rocket City Trash Pandas - the Southern League affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, will take on a new configuration to handle the gridiron and welcome college football to the facility for the first time.
MartinFed, a federal solutions company headquartered in Huntsville, specializing in Cyber, IT, Engineering, and Training, will be the presenting sponsor of the game.
“When we built Toyota Field, the vision for the venue was always to serve as a multi-use space for many different events in the City of Madison. We are thrilled to add this huge college rivalry game as our first football endeavor. Thanks to our partners at UNA, the Trash Pandas, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau, we are proud to make this vision a reality for what will be an exciting event,” said City of Madison Mayor Paul Finley. “Having an event like this will create a tremendous economic impact for our city and showcase our crown jewel facility.”
For UNA, the home game at Toyota Field not only brings them to Madison for the first time, but it brings the state’s fastest-growing University to one of its largest bases for alumni and prospective students.
“We are excited to bring the tradition and pageantry of UNA football to Toyota Field this fall,” said UNA President Dr. Ken Kitts. “The Madison-Huntsville market is key for us – not only because of our large alumni base, but because of the depth of outstanding students in the area who are potential UNA students. Hosting this game is a tremendous opportunity for us to expand our brand and embrace the next generation of UNA students.”
Bringing the parties together for the event is the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau – bringing fans to fill the hotels throughout the area as a capacity crowd of 10,000 is expected for the game, creating an estimated economic impact of $1 million for the area.
“In a state that has a deep passion for football, we are proud to lead the charge in bringing this game to fruition and the reimagining of Toyota Field as a football facility,” said Judy Ryals, President and CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We look forward to maximizing the opportunity to bring visitors in for the weekend, but also to introduce people to our area through the ESPN+ broadcast to show why the Rocket City is such a special place.”
The facility will have a capacity of approximately 10,000 fans, creating a unique environment that will have everyone on top of the action. The Trash Pandas are known for a fan-experience focused production and the game will continue that Toyota Field tradition with special experiences available throughout the facility.
“Thanks to the special relationships forged over the last few months, we look forward to welcoming UNA to Toyota Field for a one of a kind experience that we offer all of our fans every night during baseball season,” said Garrett Fahrmann, General Manager of the Rocket City Trash Pandas. “While this event has some unique characteristics to it, our focus is on keeping the same mindset we have for Trash Pandas games - to create a special fan experience that will want them to come back for another event at Toyota Field.”
For the UNA football program, the 2022 season offers new opportunities as it completes its transition to Division I and looks to compete for the ASUN title for the first time this fall.
“Hosting our in-state rival at Toyota Field is going to be a tremendous experience for our student-athletes, coaches, alumni, and fans to enjoy,” said UNA Director of Athletics Dr. Josh Looney. “This is a region rich in UNA pride and we are honored to have this opportunity to showcase our program in a state-of-the-art facility as we continue to build football into a championship caliber program at the Division I level.”
The matchup will be presented by MartinFed, one of the nation’s leading federal contractors headquartered in Huntsville. Their support continues their commitment to excellence and finding ways for their clients to succeed.
“MartinFed is a team of OUTSTANDING professionals who provide for the safety and security of our nation everyday through the constant pursuit of excellence,” said Matthew Schmitz, a UNA Alumnus and Chief Growth Officer for MartinFed. “The University of North Alabama, Jacksonville State University and Rocket City Trash Pandas are also all outstanding teams who pursue excellence everyday. MartinFed is proud to be the presenting sponsor of a great event that showcases such amazing teams and organizations. Investing in our communities is part of our corporate culture and we couldn’t be more excited for this event.”
Tickets for the game will go on sale to the public on July 18 through the Trash Pandas box office outlets. Season ticket holders of both UNA and the Trash Pandas will have presale opportunities in advance of the public sale. There are also several premium options available – including on-field cabanas, dugout suite, sky deck seats, and mini suites in the SportsMed Club area.