(WFI) Internazionale owner Erick Thohir wants the club to make money from its own stadium – but doesn’t say if that would be the San Siro or not.
The Indonesian businessman became the majority shareholder of the Serie A club late last year and earlier this year acquired a $313 million loan to secure against Inter’s debts.
A major part of generating revenue in modern football is maximising stadium use and Thohir insisted Inter were in the market to own their own venue. They currently share the San Siro with AC Milan.
“At Inter we want to have our own stadium but how many seats we can fill up? How many concerts can we fill up?,” he told the Leaders Sport Summit in London on Thursday.
“We have discussions with AC Milan to understand what they want to do with the stadium. Big clubs such as Inter want to own their stadiums. But building a stadium is not enough – you need to understand what business itself is inside stadium.”
Thohir explained that at his other club, DC United who play in the MLS, have planned their stadium with other streams of revenue in mind.
“When we build the DC Arena, we designed it so the field is not only for football but also for concerts, for lacrosse, for college football and rugby so can we make sure that for 200 days [of the year] we can fill it up.”
While plans for Inter’s own stadium are in the discussion phase, fellow Italian side Roma are steaming ahead with their own venue.
Owner James Pallotta joined Thohir on a panel at Leaders and confirmed that Roma’s new stadium would likely begin construction in the Italian capital “on May 1”.
“It’s needed badly,” Pallotta said. “It’s going to be a 60,000-seat stadium under new UEFA guidelines. College football games have already asked us if they can play there. We want to talk to the NFL, to the NBA to maybe play a weekend game there.”
The American, who took over Roma in 2011, hoped construction would be quick so that Rudi Garcia’s team could “open up the 2017 season” in the new stadium.
Financial Fair Play Pressure on Roma
Roma and Inter were both revealed to be under investigation by UEFA’s control body for a possible breach of financial fair play rules.
But Pallotta told INSIDER that his club was cooperating fully with European football’s governing body and hoped it would end up being a shining example for clubs across the continent.
“When you see what we’ve done in the last three years, we’re actually a profitable team and actually they’ll [UEFA] look at us as the poster-boy for fiscal responsibility,” he said.
“We knew from day one what we had to do and we shouldn’t get blamed for losses that were before us and legacy contracts. When UEFA sees what we’ve done and we go up front, I think they’re going to be very, very happy with how we’ve done things.”
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