By Andrea Montolivo
Rome, Jan 21 (EFE).- A new stadium designed by US architect firm Populous to replace the iconic but ageing San Siro is the key for Inter and AC Milan to more than double their venue-generated income.
The eco-friendly Cathedral, featuring restaurants and luxury boxes to attract spectators and sponsors, will see revenues skyrocket to over 100 million euros, Marco Bellinazzo, Italian journalist and sports industry expert, tells Efe.
Despite “being fascinating for its glorious history”, San Siro no longer allows the Milan-based clubs get the most out of the day-to-day economics, as — for instance — large kitchens cannot be installed.
“San Siro is a stadium built in the 1930s, although it was remodeled several times, but it has limitations that do not allow it to be converted into a high-quality stadium,” he says.
“It has internal problems, including a very limited box and hospitality area, which covers less than 5% of the stadium.
“In a quality stadium, the hospitality area must reach 15% of the capacity,” Bellinazzo, a journalist for “Il Sole 24 Ore”, the main Italian business outlet.
“A stadium generates income from the sale of general tickets, but the sponsors, the boxes, are also very important,” he said.
“Before the pandemic, Inter and AC Milan earned around 40 million per year from their stadium. The new Cathedral could reach 100 million, more than double,” he added.
The clubs considered two projects, but chose Populous’ design over the one by Italian-American consortium Manica-Cmr Sportium as it intertwines the two Milanese teams’ sporting histories and the iconic Duomo, symbol of the city.
Populous will build an ultra-modern stadium, which will be lit up in “Nerazzurri” (black and blue) for Inter matches and “Rossonero” (red and black) for Milan matches.
The project also includes remodeling the surrounding area, turning it into a sports city that fans can enjoy every day rather than only on match days.
The stadium will produce zero emissions, helping to both protect the environment and limit significant expenses.
“A stadium with zero emissions is a necessity for clubs and no longer a slogan,” says Bellinazzo.
Although the new stadium was initially expected to be completed in 2026, to host the opening ceremony of the 2026 Winter Games, it is expected to be inaugurated no earlier than 2027. EFE