Finance

Inter sets matchday revenue record, spells out new stadium plans

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan, Italy

Featured image credit: POAN68/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan, Italy

Featured image credit: POAN68/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

Inter Milan has reported record matchday revenue for the 2022-23 financial year, while still registering a loss of €85m (£74m/$89.7m), as CEO Alessandro Antonello outlined that the most important project for the Italian Serie A football club’s mid-to-long term future is building a new stadium.

Inter’s financial report for the year ending June 30, 2023, saw the loss of €85m reduced from the 2021-22 financial year’s figure of €140m as total revenues rose by around €60m to €425m, excluding player trading.

In the first season since the outbreak of COVID-19 to be played with the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza gates fully open, the team reached the UEFA Champions League final and recorded the club’s highest-ever matchday revenues of €78.9m, a significant increase from the prior year’s €41.7m.

The fan support once again established Inter as holder of Italy’s highest cumulative attendance, and among the best clubs in Europe. Meanwhile, the Champions League semi-final derby against AC Milan was also Inter’s most lucrative match ever in terms of gate receipts (€12.5m).

Earlier this month, Inter offered a glimpse of life after the venue otherwise known as the San Siro by revealing initial concept images from Populous of a new 70,000-capacity stadium that it hopes will open ahead of the 2028-29 season.

In his speech to shareholders yesterday (Thursday), Antonello said the delivery of a new stadium owned by Inter is “crucial” when it comes to achieving the club’s wider mid-to-long-term goals. The club is working on plans for a 70,000-seat stadium built on green space between Rozzano and Assago near the A7 motorway, which connects Milan and Genoa.

The land is currently owned by real estate groups Brioschi and Bastogi through a company called Infrafin. Inter has already secured the exclusive right to carry out a feasibility study into the potential development of a stadium on the site. The club has until the end of April 2024 to study the project.

Last month, initial plans were presented to the Mayors of Rozzano and the neighbouring municipality of Assago. Antonello said yesterday: “With regards to the project in Rozzano, for which the club has already signed an exclusive agreement with Infrafin valid until April 2024, the latest developments with the local administration are that on October 5 the Rozzano town council approved an amendment to the local land-use plan to include the new stadium.

“Now we are waiting for the amendment to be formally approved, while we are already in discussions with the administration to identify their needs, particularly with regards to accessibility. The next target would be to purchase the area that we already have first refusal on.

“We plan to submit our plans by April 2024, so that we can receive the green light within 18 months, break ground and have the stadium ready in time for the 2028-29 season. The area would see the creation of a 70,000-seat stadium, designed to provide the utmost comfort and the greatest possible excitement for the fans, as well as being accessible to all.

“Outside the stadium there would be a very safe area that could be used 365 days a year, featuring a sports village and facilities for supporters and anyone visiting the area, as well as the park surrounding it. The stadium area would also include buildings the club could use and specific facilities for fans like a museum and club store.

“Building a new club-owned stadium is an essential asset to bridge the gap between us and the leading European clubs. Inter’s stadium revenue is currently less than half that of the top European sides. Our club needs a new, modern, accessible, sustainable stadium that guarantees a high-level stadium experience.”

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. Concerning Inter’s view on the matter, Antonello said: “We are pleased to hear of their willingness to listen to the clubs’ views, and the city council’s decision to appeal to the administrative regional court regarding the historical restrictions on San Siro – a move which has been backed by Minister for Sport, Andrea Abodi.

“Despite that, after more than four years of waiting, we need to have clear guarantees over the exact timeframe and some clarification over the possibility of a referendum.

“With regards to the comments about the prospect of refurbishing San Siro should only one of the two clubs stay, Inter’s position is that the club is open to building a new stadium in the district along with the repurposing of San Siro in respect of the possible restriction the authorities might place on the ground. However, we believe it is inconceivable to refurbish the current facility with the aim of keeping it as a stadium, as we have stressed several times in recent years.

“We have worked hard over the last few years to remain in San Siro with a project to regenerate the entire neighbourhood but time is currently the crucial factor. And our current focus is on plans to build a new stadium in the Rozzano neighbourhood.”

Inter and its city rival previously worked on a joint Nuovo Stadio Milan project on the site where the Meazza is located, but ongoing delays concerning this venture prompted both to reassess their options.

Milan this week reported its first profit in nearly two decades and record revenues of €404.5m, as the club disclosed that its owners have already invested €40m in advancing plans to deliver a new stadium in San Donato.

New home for Inter Women

In other news, Inter has reached an agreement with the Comune of Milan for its women’s team to play its home matches at the Arena Civica Gianni Brera.

Inter Women will move into their new home for the Milan derby which is scheduled for the ninth round of the current Serie A season, due to take place on the weekend of November 25-26.

The team currently plays at Stadio Ernesto Breda in Sesto San Giovanni.