Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Decrepit or unsuitable stadia are major problem in Serie A, from the outdated Olimpico in Rome to the oversized San Nicola in Bari but most clubs have a plan – on paper at least – to move to a modern, purpose-built home. Many of these utopian ideals, such as the Cittadella Viola proposal by Fiorentina, are struggling to go ahead, whether through a lack of funding or assistance from local governments.

In failing to secure any of the recent International tournaments – despite numerous bids – the country’s football clubs are now beginning to realise they must fund these projects themselves, or else face falling further behind their European counterparts as UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations come into effect.

Almost all the stadia in Serie A are owned by the city council and the clubs pay an extortionate amount of rent for the privilege of playing there – Napoli’s San Paolo for example costs the southern side €600,000 per year despite being woefully short on the modern amenities befitting a club set to compete in next seasons Champions League. As a result they made just €14 million from match-day revenue last season despite an average attendance of over 40,000 per game.

Those figures are numbers that would make even Juventus, Italy’s best supported club, jealous as they themselves average just 23,000 – the lowest in Europe’s Top 20 Clubs and only good enough for eleventh place in Serie A. Clearly this is hampered by playing in the Stadio Olimpico they have shared with city rivals Torino since 2006, whose capacity is only 28,000. One of the first casualties of the Calciopoli fallout was the abandoning of the clubs plan to redevelop their previous home the Delle Alpi, but now a similar project is almost completed.

Work on building an entirely new home on that same site, with a capacity of 41,000 (reduced from 69,000) is currently on schedule. The old stadiums design was badly flawed, with poor visibility caused by the distance between the stands and the pitch due to the rarely used athletics track. These factors contributed to woefully low attendances; in the final season the average stood at just 35,880 and a Coppa Italia match against Sampdoria in 2002 was watched by just 237 spectators.

Juventus estimate that the move will increase their match day income to €40 million a season, more than double the current level of €19m. The new premium seating, unmatched anywhere in the peninsula, is particularly important considering that Arsenal make 35% of their own match-day revenue from 9,000 similar seats at their Emirates home. Even more encouraging is the fact that over 40% of these seats have already been sold for next season, giving the club a guaranteed increase in revenue before the work is even completed.

Another key factor in the move has been cost, particularly with the Bianconeri only playing in the Champions League twice since their return to Serie A in 2007 and thus missing out on revenue they once took for granted. Despite increasing in cost to €120 million, the project has been largely funded by the sale of naming rights to Sportfive – who in turn will sell them on – for €75m and the €20m profit from selling some land to Nordiconad. This means the club will enter its new home in August at a net cost of just €25m, which is in truth a quite remarkable piece of business.

The club has also been able to make a number of deals with sponsors and associates for the new stadium, opening paths to revenue that would not be available had they continued to share their council owned stadium with Torino. Able to exclusively offer access to the Juventus brand means far more to the investors, and it is no surprise to see Sony, Cartasi and Balocco shake hands with the club on deals as the opening day grows ever closer.

More than cost, profit or anything to do with financial gain however is a return to a stadium they can call truly their own, a feeling that has never truly existed at the Olimpico, delle Alpi or Communale. Whatever name ends up adorning this fantastic looking structure for Juventini it will simply be home, at last.

Our thanks to friend of the show Kieron O’Connor of The Swiss Ramble for help with financial details

14 Responses so far.

  1. Ted says:

    Very difficult to build a stadium in Italy, too much of a hassle. Look at Roma, 3 years ago they unveiled new stadium plans, and nothing has materialized.

    • Adam Digby says:

      Very easy to build a stadium in Italy, impossible to build anything in Rome, that’s the key difference. So many layers of planning/red tape/by-laws in the Capital. Add in the Sensi family woes & their delay is no suprise. Di Benedetto needs to get moving on it, somewhere in the suburbs & quickly or be left behind. He’s no fool, expect this to start work this calendar year.

  2. Bassel says:

    Do u think we’l be able to fill it regularly??

    • Adam Digby says:

      Definitely. 41,000 capacity, over 1000 of which are premium seats, much of which have been sold. Then the delle Alpi average was 38,000 & nobody liked it. No problem, expect sellouts on a weekly basis

    • the gutter poet says:

      You expect our average attendences to rise 18000 to 41000 purely on the allure of the new stadium’s look, feel and amenities???? After the second extremely woeful season on the trot???And next season we may not even have the dubious joy of europa football to grace our new arena with those special mid week evening games against the massive draw of Lech and Salzburg…Do not get me wrong. As you have suggested the club has done a marvellous piece of business and I am very happy and excited about the new stadium. As far as I know we have been doing quite well OF the pitch for a few years now, mainly down to Blanc, whose expertise is totaly focused in the commercial elements of sport in general. The problem is ON the pitch. And no matter how brilliant the new stadium, nobody wants to pay good money to watch a heartless, talentless, spiritless team continue to insult the history of the club, week in, week out…

    • Adam Digby says:

      The current average is obviously limited by the capacity of Olimpico, so the leap is not that great, & sales of tickets for next season already show it will be sold out on a consistent basis. The list of applications for season tickets grows daily, the new stadium will be a resounding success, & you can criticise the team as much as you like but has any of the last two seasons seen a drop in attendance? No, people still go because that is what supporters (as opposed to fans) do.

    • thegutterpoet says:

      You are always so optimistic, Adam…which is just as well, given the last two seasons. But as I am a strident supporter of Gillingham, I can tell you, that when a team is playing awfully, season after season, attendances drop massively…Also, i am interested in this differentiation you have suggested, between ‘fans’ and ‘supporters’…not semantics, but seriously, what is the difference??? I have been a fan and supporter of both Juve and Gillingham for more than 15 years. Admittedly I am much closer, as in friendship forged in the flesh, face to face, with the Gills folk, than my fellow Juve supporters…but still, i wonder what you mean???

  3. Ted says:

    Thanks for the info Adam!
    Udinese,Cagliari,Fiorentina,and a few others are building new stadiums which is nice!

  4. Walker says:

    on another note, Ted you seem to love what we do here at serieaweekly, tell your friends but I sure you have already right. Cheers

  5. Andy says:

    20 million more euros per year is certainly nothing to scoff at, though I can’t help but be a bit disappointed if 40 million euros per season is our ceiling for matchday revenue.

    • Adam Digby says:

      That’s the projected figure, which will be pretty much bottom end, but as you say its nothing to scoff at, esp when there is no rent to pay out of it as there is now (& the current figure does not have that deducted!)

  6. Andy says:

    BTW, great work as always Adam.

Featured Skills Video

    Write for Serie A Weekly!

    contribute Send us a timely, compelling post and we'll consider it for publishing on the site with mention of your name and social-media link.

    Click here to contact us.

Sponsors

Serie A Weekly recognises all copyrights contained. Where possible we acknowledge the copyright holder. If you own copyright to an image and object to its presence, contact the blog immediately using the "contact us" link at the top of this page. This blog is not responsible for the content of third party sites.