The Bostonian investor knows the potential of the world of football but his goal seems to be realizable only winning trophies.
There is nothing to say about Pallotta‘s knowledge of finance, numbers, compounding interest, and investments but his recent speech at the event “Leaders in Sports – Meet Innovation” held in London left me concerned. The American investor knows the potential of football in terms of economy but he is probably underestimating the driving forces of this sport.
“You can not be a global brand without owning a stadium. We want to be everyone’s second favorite club. There are 3 billion football fans in the world, and if I could even bring only 1% to cheer for Roma as a second team, we would have 30 million fans. Moreover, if they spend even $5 each, there would be a revenue of $150 million. This is more or less the way in which numbers can work. – said Pallotta explaining his overall plan.”
His concept is clear and apparently feasible albeit its development seems to be hard. Historically, the main driving factor in football is the victory. Several million fans support Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United thanks to their great historical performances and achievements. The ‘Blancos’ won 85 trophies and according to ‘Transfermarkt’ their current market value is €858.5m. Barcelona lifted 97 trophies including 8 Copa Catalunya and 4 Copa Eva Duarte. President Bartomeu is leading a club worth €1b. Manchester United collected 66 trophies. The ‘Red Devils’ have a total market value of €703.5m.
In its history, Roma won 16 trophies and according to ‘transfermarkt’ the current market value of the giallorossi is €363.1m. These numbers seem to be merciless. How can Pallotta believe that his club can even be compared with this football super-powers?
In reality, he has never said that. The Bostonian investor is talking about a sustainable project that can bring serious cash flow in the future. The construction of the Stadio della Roma is pivotal to reach his forecasted goals. What I am questioning is Roma’s ability to attract football lovers without winning trophies. Each of us has a second and maybe third favorite team. Frequently we cheer for clubs with great superstars. Often, we are attracted by clubs featuring well-renowned players. Usually, the strength of their rosters translates into victories on the field. Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United are three perfect examples. Even widening our focus on Manchester City and PSG we see that quite often heavy investments on the transfer market and the acquisition of top players boost the chance of winning.
How can football lovers fell in love with Roma if the Lupi cannot compete for the acquisition of great footballers?
This is where the problem lies right now. Pallotta’s project would be feasible in two different ways. First, Roma could decide to inject capital into the transfer market to sign top stars albeit the FFP rules prohibit this approach. Second, the construction of the stadium will give this club that economic stability necessary to retain its best players and adequate funds to purchase masterpieces. Obviously, the second way is Roma’s way to do business. Although a sustainable project is always the best choice it requires several years and the ability to pass unscathed difficult moments in which the criticisms fall like snow in winter.
The Roma fans are impatiently waiting for the glory. Can they wait many more years before seeing their dreams realized? We’ll see.