Financial muscle for top-flight Milan clubs



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Italy San Siro new financing secured Image: Populous

Financial majors JP Morgan (American multinational investment bank) and Goldman Sachs (American multinational investment bank and financial services company) are reportedly backing Italian soccer giants A.C. Milan and Inter Milan as plans for their new shared stadium gather pace.

The proposal envisages setting up a new all-seater stadium boasting capacity of 60,000 and a multiuse complex. A part of the San Siro Stadium will be retained.

The top-flight clubs recently filed a feasibility study and new economic and financial plan to the Municipality of Milan in which they sought to address concerns laid out by City bosses earlier this year regarding the revamp of the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. The development is expected to be greenlighted by the end of 2021 and it will take three years for the project to come to fruition.

A.C. Milan or simply Milan is a professional football club in Milan, Italy, founded in 1899. The club has spent its entire history, with the exception of the 1980-81 and 1982-83 seasons, in the top flight of Italian football, known as Serie A since 1929-30.

Inter Milan is an Italian professional football (soccer) team based in Milan, Italy. Inter Milan is the only Italian club never to have been relegated to a league below the country’s top division, Serie A.

San Siro, officially known as Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, is a football stadium in the San Siro district of Milan, which is the home of AC Milan and Inter Milan. It has a seating capacity of 75,923, making it one of the largest stadiums in Europe, and the largest in Italy.

Media reports stated that both the clubs would go Dutch as regards the capital injection in the development – centered around a 60,000-capacity arena – which is expected to be somewhere around $1.25bn. The report states that the definitive go-ahead could be given sometime between October and November 2021.

The new proposal, presented to the authorities recently, foresees a significant reduction in real estate volumes compared to the initial proposal, for a total of 145,000 sqm. This is a significant reduction on the 180,000 sqm over which the City of Milan had expressed serious reservations in June 2020.

The clubs also reiterated their commitment to the sustainability quotient and public interest with an urban regeneration aimed at creating a district abuzz with activity 365 days a year, devoted to sports and entertainment. The project would attribute for a running track, cycle track, open air gym, skateboard park, climbing wall, zip line and sports museum, all of which would be free for visitors.

A spokesperson for the project stated, “The filing marks an important step forward. The documentation filed will be reviewed by the technical offices of the City of Milan, which will then be in a position to issue a new unconditioned declaration of public interest. In the months ahead, the clubs will prepare detailed design drawings, at considerable expense, in preparation for the final stage of approval: The declaration of public utility, in which the clubs look forward to engaging with the City of Milan, the Lombardy region, and all other stakeholders in support of this exciting project.”

In January 2019, the clubs presented new plans for the future of the Meazza, outlining how the venue would be remodeled into a destination for sports and entertainment events. The clubs had previously maintained that they were prepared to work on alternative proposals for the San Siro but later said they were not open to the idea of retaining the stadium as a venue for professional sports if a new facility is developed.

The City Council gave plans for a new stadium a “conditional yes” last October, with the rider that the proposal would be greenlighted only when the clubs spell out a clear policy as regards the regeneration plans for the San Siro. The development followed after the two clubs announced in September 2019 that Populous and Manica/Sportium had been shortlisted to design a new stadium that they would share.

The joint venture will not allow the clubs to completely do away with San Siro, but it will be metamorphosed.

The Milan and Inter Milan proposal also envisages “keeping alive the pristine sheen of the legendary Meazza facility and making it functional within the new district”.

The stakeholders involved in the project asserted that despite the current difficult investment climate, they were firm on “launching a project of excellence in Milan, which will generate between 3,000 and 3,500 new jobs, give a shot in the arm to an important urban area of the City, and will open up floodgates of opportunities for the City of Milan and for Italian football.”

Media reports further stated that the people associated with the ambitious development are keeping their fingers crossed as regards completing the arena in time for the 2024-25 seasons and also with an eye on the 2026 Winter Olympics to be held in Milan.

Media reports also had it that the Webuild group (Milan headquartered Italian industrial group which excels in the construction and civil engineering business) has evinced keen interest in A.C. Milan and Inter Milan’s new venue plans. The leading player in the Italian market wants to play a key role in the real estate as well as the business center parts of the development.
 

Ticket to success

Though A.C. Milan and Inter Milan might be bitter pitch rivals, but the fact remains that they share the San Siro and are firm on delivering a stunning, state-of-the-art £1 billion stadium. The San Siro stadium is one of the most iconic sporting venues in the world and is steeped in over 100 years of history, having hosted World Cup matches as well as four European Cup finals. However, both Inter Milan and AC Milan have decided it’s time to move away from the San Siro into a futuristic facility to welcome the “next generation” of fans.

The new stadium aims to make most of the space available around San Siro – The Cathedral and The Rings of Milan. The Cathedral, inspired by two of Milan’s most recognizable buildings, the Duomo and the Galleria, results in a striking glass facade and seating mechanism which promises to be an architectural marvel in Europe.

While Milan’s new stadium will have a capacity of just 60,000 compared to the 80,000 the San Siro currently boasts, the huge improvement in hospitality packages will help the clubs to keep the cash registers jingling and rival the richest clubs in Europe. Presently, Both AC Milan and Inter Milan generate €34 million from their stadium, compared to the €100m other European clubs make.

Both the top-flight clubs are determined to build the ‘best stadium in Europe’ which will further catapult their rise.

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