Wednesday March 16 2016
‘Roma stadium three years away’

President James Pallotta says Roma’s new stadium will take around three years to be completed.

The Giallorossi are aiming to build a new ground, but the project has been hit by delays as they seek approval from the administration of the Lazio region.

“American arenas and stadiums are much better than the football stadiums in Europe,” Pallotta told the Sports Analytics Conference at MIT Sloan School of Management.

“At Roma we play at the Stadio Olimpico, which was built in 1960 and can hold 80,000 people, but it has a running track so you’re disconnected from the pitch.

“One of the first things we decided to do after buying the club was to build a new stadium, a stadium of our own to compete at the highest levels with the revenue it would bring.

“Within six weeks we’ll have the final design of the stadium, and we hope the approval to start building will be delivered within six months.

“It will take about 26 months to build the stadium. It will be entirely privately funded, we won’t ask for money from the municipality of Rome or Italy.

“Rome is competing to host the 2024 Olympics and having the stadium would be a plus.

“There will be a lot of things surrounding the stadium, which will be built in a great location, including an ‘office park’ which should be completed in three years.

“When it’s ready it will generate great revenues.

“We’ll also fund public works, which will total around €300m. I don’t agree with those who say the city should help out and use public funds for this project.”

Pallotta also revealed the changes he’s made to the club in terms of marketing.

“I’ll tell you a story: about four years ago, when I bought the club, I looked at how they were managing marketing, ticketing and merchandising.

“I was amazed to see that none of these three groups were communicating with each other. I went to see several European clubs to see how they ran things.

“I was speaking to one and someone said ‘we have 600 million fans in the world’. I told him ‘give me a name, email address and phone number of these fans’.

“He said ‘what? I don’t have them’, so I told him sarcastically ‘Roma have a billion fans…’

“We created a system which is used in baseball and the NBA, which allows communication between these departments, marketing, ticketing and merchandising.

“If someone buys a ticket, there’s a lot we know about him, even though he’s not a season ticket holder and it’s for a single match.

“We know he has three children and he bought this kind of shirt and so on.

“We put all the information from Facebook, Twitter and others into this system so we can make targeted offers to each fan.

“It’s very difficult to sell tickets in Rome, because you can’t just go to the box office and say ‘I want a ticket’. It takes days to get a ticket, with various documents.

“We’re working with AEG which is working on a new way to sell tickets in Italy, which will allow us to make it much easier to sell tickets to our fans.

“We’re in the testing phase, and we hope to have it ready for next season.”