Italian Serie A football club AC Milan has reported a 7.5% uplift in ticket sales at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, attributing this rise to work carried out through a partnership with the WePlay agency.

Milan appointed WePlay as its global digital marketing agency at the start of the 2019-20 season, with an expansive brief that included driving the growth of the club’s social audience, mobile app and direct-to-consumer revenue streams.

Since its launch in August, the partnership has focused on the deployment of data-led digital marketing initiatives to reach, engage and convert current and lapsed fans, as well as attract new visitors to purchase tickets to the club’s games at the stadium better known as the San Siro.

Tourism is a significant part of the strategy, seeking to capitalise on the opportunity presented by Milan’s position as one of the top five most visited cities in Europe. This strategy for targeting international audiences was designed to introduce AC Milan and its brand to a pool of previously untapped consumers and position its matches as a ‘must-see’ experience for visitors to the city.

After six months, Milan and WePlay said this strategy has already proven to be successful, generating an increase of 7.5% in ticket sales versus the previous year, with 25% of these sales being attributed to new audiences.

Casper Stylsvig, chief revenue officer at AC Milan, said: “Innovation is an important part of AC Milan’s DNA and we are delighted to see our increased focus on digital have such an immediate commercial impact. Our relationship with WePlay has helped us to welcome new fans into the AC Milan community, which is an important part of our ambitious plans to drive revenue for the club.”

WePlay also holds football club partnerships with the likes of French Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille. The agency’s CEO, Luca Massaro, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the results from our first six months as it showcases not only the attractiveness in the AC Milan brand, but also on how focusing on your direct to consumer marketing strategy can lead to an immediate commercial impact.

“The understanding and trustworthy relationship between WePlay and AC Milan have allowed us to work together effectively, leading to the great returns on investment that we are seeing.”

AC Milan, along with city rival Inter, are currently engaged in efforts to develop a new stadium and determine the long-term future of the San Siro. The two clubs last month presented new plans for the future of the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, outlining how the venue would be transformed into a destination for amateur sports and entertainment events.

In December, the clubs said they were prepared to work on alternative proposals for the San Siro, while maintaining their discomfort at retaining the stadium as a venue for professional sporting events once a new facility is developed.

Plans for a new stadium were given a “conditional yes” from the city council in October, with assurances needed on regeneration plans for the San Siro before the proposal is given the all-clear. In September the two clubs announced that Populous and Manica/Sportium had been shortlisted to design a new 60,000-seat stadium that they would share.

Image: AC Milan