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Milan buoyed by strong financial results amid new stadium planning

Featured image credit: D7ckon/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

AC Milan has reported its first profit in nearly two decades and record revenues of €404.5m (£352m/$432.3m), as the Italian Serie A football club disclosed that its owners have already invested €40m in advancing plans to deliver a new stadium.

Milan’s annual report for the financial year ending June 30, 2023 represents an illustration of the turnaround in its commercial fortunes since US private investment firm RedBird Capital Partners completed its takeover in August 2022.

The profit of €6.1m, the club’s first since 2006, has ended a run of substantial losses – €66.5m and €96.4m for the past two years, preceded by a club record deficit of €145.9m in 2019. The 2022-23 revenues of €404.5m represented a 36% increase on last year’s mark of €297.6m, with Milan stating matchday and season ticket revenues saw a growth of €40.3m.

Milan reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League last season, which resulted in more high-profile matches at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, while the club also benefited from the reopening of stadiums following the lifting of the strictest regulatory restrictions originally issued in relation to COVID-19.

Paolo Scaroni, chairman of AC Milan, said in a statement: “Combining sporting performance, global competitiveness and financial sustainability in football, when on a virtuous path, is possible: the financial statement that has just been approved is a testament to that.

“This marks an important step in our club’s history with a return to net profit after 17 years. We are heading towards a new important chapter of evolution in the development of our club, supported and made possible by Gerry Cardinale’s strategic vision, the expertise of RedBird, the competence and determination of the entire management team led by our CEO Giorgio Furlani, and the talent of our teams, who will continue to thrill and excite our fans.”

Scaroni touched on Milan’s stadium situation during a press conference presenting the financial results. Milan officially announced for the first time last month that it is pursuing a new stadium project away from its current home at the Meazza, more commonly known as the San Siro.

The club said that it had “completed the first formal step”, in view of the potential future submission of a full project plan, by presenting to the San Donato Milanese council an urban development proposal for the San Francesco area.

The project hypothesis for the new stadium – the concept of which will be presented at a later stage – is to construct an “innovative, sustainable and multifunctional facility”, which can accommodate around 70,000 spectators.

Scaroni said yesterday (Monday): “Up to 70,000 will mean two tiers, more than 70,000 three tiers. An extra tier costs much more and the match would be seen with a telescope. The 70,000 is a bit at the maximum limit, we want to create a two-tier stadium. Rarely are there more than 70,000 spectators at San Siro.”

It emerged last week that the Municipality of Milan has launched an appeal against a decision placing protected status on the Meazza, restrictions that effectively prevent any efforts to redevelop the venue.

The Municipality said it would present an appeal to the Regional Administrative Court (TAR) of Lombardy-Milan to secure an annulment of the opinion presented by the Archaeological, Fine Arts and Landscape Superintendence for the Metropolitan City of Milan on July 26, followed by another from the Regional Commission for the Cultural Heritage of Lombardy on July 27.

These related to the classification of the second tier of the Meazza, along with the west stand, as structures of cultural interest.

Scaroni said: “I see the mayor’s (Giuseppe Sala’s) words with a certain regret. If these moves had come years ago we would have already built the stadium. The administration could have said: ‘Milan will have the most beautiful stadium in the world and we also have those who pay for it’. Today, however, the mayor is struggling to try to find a solution to this problem of the Superintendency. 

“As long as this constraint remains in place, the San Siro hypothesis does not exist. We cannot intervene on the stadium and we cannot tear it down. Milan is continuing with the San Donato project. At the moment we are studying all the financing options.”