Roma President Jim Pallotta again threatened to walk away if the Stadio della Roma project is not approved. “The fanaticism is on steroids.”
The American already hit the headlines this week for controversial comments made insulting ex-director of sport Walter Sabatini, former Coaches Rudi Garcia and Luciano Spalletti, but above all Milan’s summer spending spree.
“The haves are just becoming more and more powerful,” Pallotta told the Boston Globe newspaper.
“When you see some of the transfer markets they’re talking about now, say Neymar and $200m, I don’t think I would do that, even if I had the money. But it’s just not something that’s feasible except for maybe three, four teams.
“We don’t want to sell it. We think there’s a huge opportunity for us to build a championship-calibre team with a stadium and an entertainment complex.
“But if they can’t get the approval stuff in order, then someone else is going to have to go through with it.”
This is not the first time Pallotta has threatened to sell Roma and walk away unless the Stadio della Roma project is approved.
“The 24-7 around it is how you build out your global brand. That was the rationale in the first place for Rome more than any other city. It’s Rome.
“I can’t walk in Rome more than two minutes without being stopped. So if I’m walking, it’s photographers, journalists, or Roma fans wanting to talk, sign something, take a picture. That’s in London, Milan, Miami — they’re there. They just come up to you. It’s constant in a bunch of these places.
“In Rome, it’s just crazy. The fanbase in European football, it’s usually the only major sport in the city. It goes back much further than teams here. It really is tribal and cultural, way more than it is in US sports. So the fanaticism is on steroids.”
Yet Pallotta is taking the team on a tour of the US to build their grew of supporters abroad.
“There’s a huge fanbase here, which is growing, which is more, ‘I want to watch the best guys in the world play.’ And that’s the European football piece of it.
That’s where the much, much bigger opportunity is for European football clubs, top-10 clubs, to get from the US.
“I think European football leagues could learn from MLS and what they did in marketing the product. European teams have lived off the tribal, culture, and fanaticism a different way.
“Other than the Premier League, the leagues themselves have not done anywhere as good a job in branding and marketing themselves as MLS has.”
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