Design & Development

RedBird chief seeks to set Serie A example with AC Milan stadium

Gerry Cardinale

Featured image credit: RedBird Capital Partners

Gerry Cardinale, founder and managing partner of US private investment firm RedBird Capital Partners, has reiterated AC Milan’s commitment to developing a new stadium away from the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, adding he is keen to deliver the project through a company that could then assist other Serie A football clubs.

In August 2022, RedBird formally concluded its takeover of Milan touting its “track record” in sports stadium developments, and has since been attempting to drive forward plans for a new venue.

Milan last month took another step towards developing a new stadium in the Municipality of San Donato Milanese after completing the acquisition of a package of land for the project. The land in the San Francesco area had been owned by SportLifeCity, which originally planned the development of a 20,000-seat arena at the site.

These plans changed when the Serie A club identified the site as its preferred location for a new stadium, with SportLifeCity now 90% controlled by Milan after being acquired in June. Milan essentially asked for a change in the structures being requested for development on the site and it has now secured full control of the land.

The Municipality of San Donato Milanese in January fired the starting gun on a “long and complex path” towards delivering a new 70,000-seat stadium for Milan, with the project clearing its first major bureaucratic hurdle.

The Municipal Council approved an initial proposal presented by the club in September, when it officially announced for the first time that it was pursuing a new stadium project away from its current Stadio Giuseppe Meazza home, better known as the San Siro.

At the time, Milan 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 Municipal Council an urban development proposal for the San Francesco area.

Along with the 70,000-seat stadium, the plans being driven by SportLifeCity also envision a hotel, catering facilities, offices, a club store and museum, a large plaza, auditorium and parking for 3,500 vehicles.

Speaking at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, Cardinale reinforced the emphasis on a move away from the San Siro to a new stadium. He said: “That should not only be good for Milan, but good for Italy and Serie A.

“I am going to create a company that is going to build this stadium and then frankly I want to take that company and have it go build stadiums for all the other teams in Serie A.”

Cardinale’s comments come after Italian construction company Webuild was last week asked to deliver a feasibility study in three months concerning the redevelopment of the Meazza, in order for it to remain the home of AC Milan and Inter Milan.

The news was disclosed following a meeting between Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan; Alessandro Antonello, corporate CEO of Inter; and Paolo Scaroni, president of AC Milan. The meeting was held after Webuild earlier declared to the Municipality of Milan that it would be prepared to undertake a revamp of the Meazza, based on the project already presented by architectural studio Arco Associati.

The presentation was made last month in an effort to persuade Milan and Inter to remain at their current home instead of building new stadiums.

Cardinale added: “Will the stadium be built? Yes. We have made more progress in 18 months than anyone else in Italy. We are trying to create not just the stadium but an American-style entertainment campus.

“I love the San Siro, it is a privilege to play there, but the question is not the stadium but whether we can win better with a new stadium and the answer is categorically yes. We can add value to Serie A by setting an example.”