Italian Soccer Business
Rising U.S. Investment in Italian Soccer Teams May Create Opportunities for U.S. Sports Businesses
U.S. investors currently own 12 Italian professional soccer teams, including league champions AC Milan. This is eleven more than in 2018 when only one team was owned by a U.S. investor: first division AC Roma in Italy’s capital city of Rome. In Autumn 2022, Italy’s sports and financial media published articles claiming that that U.S. investors were looking at five more teams: Inter, Napoli, Sampdoria, Udinese, and Verona.
Analysts, managers, and journalist in Italy believe that the U.S. and other foreign investors will bring many things to the market: fresh investment capital, sports business management skills, especially U.S. financial models, and access to new revenue streams through international marketing and merchandising, social media and data management, and digital entertainment platforms.
According to the 2022 study ReportoCalcio, produced annually by the FIGC (Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio), the body that manages Italy’s soccer leagues, Italy’s Serie A teams produced an aggregate income from ticketing, broadcasting, merchandising, sponsorships, and other sources of € 2.1 billion in the 2020-21 season. Although impressive, this is only about two thirds that produced by Spain’s Liga (€3.3 billion), and less than half that of the UKs Premier League (€5.2 billion).
U.S. controlled Italian soccer teams:
Major League (Serie A)
• A.S Roma (Rome)
• A.C Milan (Milan)
• Atalanta (Bergamo)
• Fiorentina (Florence)
• Spezia (La Spezia)
• Ascoli Calcio (Ascoli Piceno)
• Genoa (Genoa)
• Pisa (Pisa)
• SPAL (Ferrara)
• Venezia (Venice)
• Cesena (Cesena)
Opportunities may exist for innovative sports-related products and services from U.S. companies in a wide variety of areas: digital services (AI, blockchain data management & mining), sports marketing and merchandising, fan-base management, stadium development and design, and others.
In addition to soccer, Milan and the alpine town of Cortina will host the 2026 Winter Olympic games, creating further opportunities for innovative U.S. companies. The Fondazione Milano Cortina 2026, the organizing committee, is expected to have a budget of about $1.5 billion to manage the games and the Italy will invest $1 billion in improving related infrastructure before the opening ceremony.
For more information, contact Joshua.Lawrence@trade.gov.