Liverpool Echo: Cost control and revenue building – what Milan can expect from RedBird

By Oliver Fisher -

A report has emerged from England documenting what has been learned about RedBird Capital from their one year of involvement with Liverpool.

The Liverpool Echo write how RedBird Capital moved into the European football market in summer of 2020 by acquiring a majority stake in Toulouse in France’s Ligue 2. They were in chaos at the time and in need of a rebuild, and last month they got back into Ligue 1.

RedBird bought shares in Indian Premier League T20 cricket side Rajasthan Royals and also in Spanish second division club Malaga. Following that, they bought an 11 per cent stake in Liverpool owners FSG for a $750m sum.

Gerry Cardinale’s fund have teamed up with Dwayne Johnson for the relaunch of the XFL in the USA – an American football for the NFL offseason – and FSG  have invested in the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins ice hockey team, buying then for over $900m ‘take the total value of their empire past the $10bn mark’.

Earlier in June RedBird made their biggest splash yet by agreeing €1.3bn deal to buy Milan, aiming to move to ‘the very forefront of football investment’ with ‘the scope to grow a brand that they believe can expand far beyond its current state’.

RedBird are described in the report as ‘business builders’ who use their vast experience with American sports to grow revenue streams among clubs in Europe, building the brand globally and increasing cash flow of the business, hence the emphasis on media and entertainment.

When considering how FSG have run Liverpool and what RedBird have learned, they do not think it is wise to ‘use capital to prop up transfer spend on players’ and while silverware is great, ‘winning trophies are something like an espresso shot to clubs’ by giving ‘a shorter term boost while not truly addressing the issue of how they generate those kind of revenues year on year’.

Essentially, the focus is on growing and maximising revenues that can then be invested in new players to create trophy success that can happen more regularly and sustainably, from the money they generated as a business.

The report mentions how Sam Kennedy – the president of the Boston Red Sox and one of FSG’s most influential partners – told US sports business website Sportico last year how RedBird’s investment ‘super-sized’ the ambitions of the Liverpool owners.

Through the close links FSG have with LeBron James, their next big ambition is to have an NBA team Las Vegas in the coming years and that is a project that RedBird ‘will be involved with’.

The Echo adds that RedBird’s position is to aid FSG’s pursuit of ‘growth opportunities that provide greater value for the Reds owners and that enable them to commit capital expenditure to infrastructure projects that can directly impact revenues at team level’.

Cardinale now have the Rossoneri to manage and one of their priorities is a new stadium that ‘can become Italy’s premier outdoor arena’. They also plan to use Milan’s status as a fashion capital by increasing revenue streams through reaching new demographics with Milan branded merchandise, like Paris Saint-Germain have done with their Air Jordan collaboration.

RedBird will operate Milan more like ‘how FSG operate at Liverpool than what QSI do at PSG’ meaning there will be ‘cost control and a desire to be net positive eventually when it comes to transfer spend’.

Sources have told the Echo that RedBird’s investment into Milan is something for the long-term and there is not plan to sell for quick profit, and there is also no conflict of interest regarding their involvement with Liverpool. Moreover, being a multi-club platform like City Football Group or Red Bull isn’t desired.

Tags AC Milan

22 Comments

  1. Lets hope they can bring commercial deals quickly so it can be added to the €50m transfer fund + €20m extra salary cap that have been comitted.

    With extra salary cap from Redbird, unlike Elliot who cut the salary cap each year, hopefully Milan won’t lose their stars for free anymore due to salary disagreement in contract renewal.

    1. Milan lost the “stars” for free because those players were asking for money they don’t deserve.
      Donnarumma asked for 12 million a year. He is a goalkeeper. U pay a star striker, winger, playmaker those money not a GK.
      Kessie asked for 6.5 mil. He is skilless defensive midfielder, the easiest position to replace on a team.
      Hakan exit had to do with some locker room problems. You don’t move to the biggest rival and in the same city just for extra 500k.
      Romagnoli kind of defenders are going out of style . Teams are mostly looking for more mobile fast defenders than big , tall ones

      1. LOL. Why wouldn’t a goalkeeper be paid like that? What a ridiculous post, I won’t even explain. De Gea gets over 20M 😀

        1. Man u is a team that uselessly spend their money on players . why did Madrid, barca and co aren’t spending that kind of money on goal keepers

        2. Is the GK the most important position on the team? Because with 12 mil Donnarumma would have been by far the highest paid player at Milan. Currently Theo, who just renewed his contract, is the highest paid with 4.5.
          GK is as good as the defense in front of him. United pays De Gea 20 mil but their defense stinks and he concedes a lot of goals, so do you get 20 mil worth of value for DeGea. All you need from a GK is not to make mistakes. Every GK that media call great was playing with a great defense in front of him.

        3. And the real question is: WHY the **** are ManU paying such figures? Clearly he hasn’t brought them trophies/success in years and therefore is MASSIVELY overpaid.

        4. @crorossonero

          Wait, so you think Dollaruma deserves €12 million /year salary. Are you fking kidding me? How many times Dollaruma brings scudetto & Champions League trophies for Milan? NONE.

          Meanwhile Mike salary is €2.8 million /year, a lot less than Dollaruma €6 million /year salary, and he already plays a lot better than Dollaruma and help Milan with the scudetto in his first season!

          And De Gea plays like shit. How many times he bring EPL & CL trophies for ManU in the span of 10-11 years his playing with the club? Only 1 EPL trophy but 0 CL trophy. ManU wasted 20 million /year for an overrated GK!

          Good thing you’re not in Milan management right now or you already buried Milan in the ground with your $tupid decisions.

          1. Listen, no one said that Donnarumma deserved that salary, try reading with understanding before acting smart. You aren’t. Next point. De Gea was their best player. So, De Gea is bad if they have shit midfield and he gets the player of the season reward? I though you are emptyheads but this is even worse. All of you wrote the same thing and I’m laughing at you.

          2. Listen, no one said that Donnarumma deserved that salary, try reading with understanding before acting smart. You aren’t. The question was why would an attacker be paid 20M per year and not a top goalkeeper? Brainless idea. Next point.

            De Gea was their best player for years.
            So, De Gea is bad if they have no midfield and he gets the player of the season reward? I though you are emptyheads but this is even worse. All of you wrote the same thing and I’m laughing at all of you.
            And Madrid would pay him close to that money, they wanted to buy him but United didn’t sell him if you can remember anything past yesterday? What a bunch of bozos are commenting.

          3. Listen, no one said that Donnarumma deserved that salary, try reading with understanding before acting smart. The question was why would a goalkeeper be paid 20M per year? That is for attackers, midfield etc. Brainless idea as expected from bb. Of course the goalkeeper is as important as any other part of the team. Liverpool had Karius, what happened? Just get any goalkeeper right? Spent 80 million € to get a proper one.

      2. I wasn’t talking about Donnarumma. He cannot play with his feet. Maldini sign Maignan even before Donnarumma talk with PSG… lol… clearly Maldini want to replace him due to his flaw and seize that chance.

  2. I remember how Liverpool had the worst transfers ever before Klopp joined and started telling them which players are shit. Moneyball was working miraculosly with Borini, Downing, Joe Allen and similar players paid over 15M€. The worst ever transfer policy as they had 4 good players out of 25. Benteke and Caroll both cost over 40M.

  3. I remember how Liverpool had the worst transfers ever before Klopp joined and started telling them which players are useless. Moneyball was working miraculosly with Borini, Downing, Joe Allen and similar players paid over 15M€. The worst ever transfer policy as they had 4 good players out of 25. Benteke and Caroll both cost over 40M.

  4. Sad to read this article . But as fans must learn to accept this. We Will never get expensive player that price more than 40m euro and maximum salary are just 7-8m euro nett ( more than that we have to sell that player or they go free transfer) . Trophy are just side dish for redbird,more important are increase revenue for red bird. I already endure dark time in berlusconi 2011 to 2016 then Yong Hong Li time disaster, endure red bird era should be more easy

    1. It’s a long term project.
      You say that they only want to increase revenue, with the increased revenue will increase transfer spending. Again look at Liverpool. They were bought for 500 mil. They didn’t spend a lot at the beginning because they were running losses but with time and increased revenue they started spending big. Salah , Mane were 50 mil players, Van Dijk was almost a 100 mil, in the Last 6 months they paid 60+ for luis dias and a 100 for Nunez.
      New owner MO is You will spend what you earn . And that is the right way to go unless you wanna go back to Milan of the last 10 years or barca today

      1. “New owner MO is You will spend what you earn . And that is the right way to go unless you wanna go back to Milan of the last 10 years or barca today”

        EXACTLY!

      2. Dude, buying 2 proper players for combined 80M to complete the team won’t get you into financial troubles. You are all talking nonsense. Barcelona spent over 400M on players that didn’t play, in a few seasons, not in 10 years. Griezmann, Dembele, Couthino and so on. Only these 3 were around 400M in total. Of course they got into financial trouble. And Liverpool was useless before Klopp. The worst transfers ever, they threw so much money on mediocre players and even got some that wouldn’t play in Serie B. Liverpool = Klopp – nothing else.

      3. Dude, buying 2 proper players for combined 80M to complete the team won’t get you into financial troubles.

        You are all talking nonsense. Barcelona spent over 400M on players that didn’t play, in a few seasons, not in 10 years. In total it was much more money but Griezmann, Dembele, Couthino and so on. Only these 3 were around 400M. Of course they got into financial trouble. And Liverpool was useless before Klopp. The worst transfers ever, they threw so much money on mediocre players and even got some that wouldn’t play in Serie B. Liverpool = Klopp – nothing else.

  5. Yes you are right spend what you earn but you are missing some points…..compare seria a revenue with priemer league we got massive differentials plus I am talking about TV rights…..then you got Stadium issues Premier league is far attractive than seria a with better deals with sponspors…..we italy lack in all this and if you straight away start pushing Liverpool model on milan it will have its effects on performance…..remember lots of team were under performing last year now i am not saying spend crazy but fill holes what article says is like when you got your business foundation firm its easier to replicate model but in Italy we don’t even have basic foundation of owning our stadium. With a twitch and a bit of support I am sure we fight on all fronts….leao performed exceptional at lille we poached him same goes for kessie we had crazy money then but in future if we don’t perform it will be hard for us to even poach talents….see performance and money are interconnected…..

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