Cardinale explains why it is time for Milan to ‘do what the Yankees did’

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan owner Gerry Cardinale has once again stressed the importance of building a new stadium and following the lead of the New York Yankees in terms of varying revenue streams.

Despite the fact that Gerry Cardinale has repeatedly and publicly declared that ‘plan A’ is to build a new home for Milan in the San Donato area of the city, there continues to be talk about the San Siro renovation plan.

However, even Zlatan Ibrahimovic spoke alongside Cardinale during an interview for the Financial Times last night and even he admitted that the time has come to move away from San Siro, as difficult as it might be from a sentimental point of view.

Cardinale did an interview with Fortune in which he explained his plans for Milan in terms of the new stadium project and the importance of exploiting more revenue streams.

“Sports now is no longer a hobby for rich guys. Sports is a multibillion-dollar live event entertainment business, and you have to bring relationships and multidisciplinary skill sets across a range of activities to be able to get these things done,” he said.

“It’s time for Italy, and for Milan, to do what the Yankees did back in 2008. Old Yankee Stadium had been around forever. Babe Ruth was there, Joe DiMaggio was there, Mickey Mantle was there, Roger Maris was there. It was iconic. But they realised that it’s time now for a new version of that.”

Cardinale also spoke about Billy Beane, the former baseball executive credited with inventing the data-driven approach that was famously profiled by the journalist Michael Lewis for Moneyball.

“It’s not a question of outspending the other guy. It’s a question of spending an incremental dollar of capital better than anyone else,” he added.

“In the old days you could just throw a party and people would show up. Today, there’s a tremendous amount of competition for an individual’s discretionary time. So if you’re going to charge premium pricing in a live event, you’re going to have to deliver a value proposition to that customer, in this case, the fan.

“One big macro thing in sports, in general, is you’ve had this massive escalation in these valuations in sports and none of the people and none of the infrastructure really has kept pace. I mean, these are all now mini Disney’s—live event entertainment companies.”

Cardinale himself remains positive about the chances of building a new stadium, even though he has “heard from others’ past experiences that it’s very tricky” but adding “I like our chances.”

On buying the SportsLifeCity vehicle to kick start the San Donate project, he said: “I wanted to know I had a viable, zonable option for the stadium. If the stadium doesn’t happen, we stay at San Siro.”

There has been an influx of American investment in European football, and it is something that Cardinale does not see as a surprise.

“Those concepts are more familiar to American investors and I think that’s what attracted them to Serie A. They realise what the legacy is and the history here in some of these under-managed brands. They realised the potential to have a great investment on your hands, simply by professionalizing the ownership.

I hope Dan Friedkin is able to get a stadium done. I’ll certainly do everything I can to support him because Italy needs more live event entertainment infrastructure. If I had my druthers, I would help every single other owner in Serie A build a stadium, because it’s good for the ecosystem.”


Tags AC Milan Gerry Cardinale


  1. “Sports now is no longer a hobby for rich guys. Sports is a multibillion-dollar live event entertainment business. ”

    I know that there will be people who will have something to say about this, football is not a business , blah, balh, but like it or not, this is the reality of the situation. Either you will adapt or perish.
    Italy and serie A for most part is still operating like it’s the 90’s, which is the reason why they went from having the best league, with the best players, to being an afterthought in European football.
    It’s a joke that Milan & Inter not only share a stadium but they don’t even own the stadium. Same with Roma and Lazio. While a third of the EPL are teams from London, and they all have their own stadiums which they own and benefit from the stadium revenue.
    But the corrupt Italian bureaucracy keeps pushing potential investors away, or make it harder on current investors.

    1. To be fair i think the great majority of people understands that football clubs should be run as businesses. With FFP there really is no way around it and even smaller clubs from smaller leagues has to do that as well and make shrewd decisions. We can always disagree about some choices made by ownerships but overall i think ac milan is in pretty safe hands and that we will most likely only move forward from now on especially if we also manage to build our own stadium.

    2. That’s beyond funny. Is Jerry not a rich mf? This guy masters PR and propaganda. Football always has been a popular game. Now they build stadiums with VIP lounges and prices skyrocket inside (prices for food and beverage increased by 3x when Tottenham opened its new stadium). Every greedy mf like our pal Jerry or football agents or corrupted institutions like FIFA or UEFA want a piece of the cake.

      Steals your watch and tells you what time it is.

      1. Gerry the clown, he always snap out of it, but the problem is now except our former capitano critisice him the way he is destroying demand unsutling our Rossonera Casa

    1. Yes, they encounterd almost this same problem we are facing today, they had to move out of there stadium at that time to play at the same stadium with Torino, after successfully buying there old stadium from the authority they demolished the rubish and built there current stadium

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