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Fiorentina ready to invest €250m in stadium revamp

Italian Serie A football club Fiorentina has said it is prepared to invest €250m (£228.3m/$290.9m) to completely redevelop its Stadio Artemio Franchi.

The disclosure came as Fiorentina published a study conducted by the Monitor Deloitte division of professional services firm Deloitte outlining the financial benefits of the project. Fiorentina, under the stewardship of American businessman Rocco Commisso, has long been chasing stadium solutions, with the city council of Florence last month approving a resolution to pursue a revamp of the Franchi through wider development of the Campo di Marte area in which the stadium is located.

Mayor Dario Nardella said the resolution aimed to “give a signal of concreteness and speed” to the “construction of a new stadium in the city”, following the collapse earlier this year of a plan to build a new venue at the Mercafir site.

Fiorentina has played at the Stadio Artemio Franchi since it opened in 1931. The club is seeking to transform the stadium into a 42,000-seat facility under a project it claims will create 1,000-plus new jobs and guarantee the club the necessary resources to compete at the highest level in Italy and Europe.

The Deloitte report claims a new stadium could generate an overall economic impact of approximately €5bn in 10 years, split between Fiorentina’s revenue growth, new third-party commercial activities, new jobs, extra tax revenue and real estate development in the Campo di Marte district.

A new Franchi is projected to allow Fiorentina to grow its revenues from €93m in 2018-19 to €225m per year. A 50,000 square metre commercial area developed as part of the project is projected to deliver revenue of €126m per year, benefitting both the city and local economy.

This area will include retail, hospitality and fan spaces, with a target of at least two million visitors per year. Fiorentina’s intensifying stadium ambitions come it was among those who this month hailed the official ratification of new legislation designed to aid the development of sports infrastructure in Italy.

The so-called ‘Sbloccastadi’, or stadium unblocker legislation, was approved by the Senate earlier this month and has been voted through by parliament. Football club executives have long bemoaned the red tape surrounding stadium development in Italy, but politicians have agreed on revisions to regulations concerning work connected to stadia deemed to be of architectural and historical value.

Commenting on the Deloitte report, Commisso, president of Fiorentina, said: “Since my arrival in Florence, we have always declared that we want to give a home to our fans that is worthy of Florence and the history of Fiorentina. 

“As a first option, our plan was to make the Artemio Franchi a modern facility that meets the needs of a club that has great ambitions. We asked Deloitte… (to conduct) analysis with the aim of making everyone understand the profound advantages that a work of this magnitude would generate not only for Fiorentina, but for the whole city. We have started a path that could lead to a very high level stadium in Florence.”

Image: Fiorentina