“Outside Italy, there’s a huge interest in the club and the brand”


About the building of Casa Milan:

“I think the building itself opened 7 or 8 years ago, but we built these facilities a year and a half ago when we opened ‘The Studios’, our production facility for all our media and content… Everyone who’s on the business side of work things, they would be based here (The Studios). Of course we have two training pitches: one for the academy and one for the first team, and we have staff there too.”

Casper Stylsvig on his role at AC Milan and what exactly he does:

“Anything under me that has nothing to do with revenue, other than league contracts, which have to do with transfers and of course also with player sales, has nothing to do with me. So everything from marketing, digital, ticketing, hospitality, sponsorship, partnerships, retail and e-commerce is under my direction.”

About AC Milan’s biggest source of income:

The journey we are going through at the moment, the centralized broadcasting deal, is still the biggest source of income for a club like us, but the way we travel the commercial aspect will have a much bigger impact. In the commercial space we are seeing tremendous growth in partnerships where we have worked phenomenally over the last 3 or 4 years. But luckily we have 100% capacity in the stadium again this year, so that will also be important. One area that we’re really focused on is retail and e-commerce, and that’s an area where we’ve more than tripled sales. Therefore, for the time being, we see a strong interest in AC Milan.”

If you think of the NFL in America, it’s very big with big media deals, but they’ve been focused on international expansion lately. If the market is saturated, you have to expand. It seems AC Milan are aiming for similar things, expanding geographically and attracting more viewers…

“So we’re obviously one of the biggest clubs in Italy. The growth we see outside (Italy)? The interest in the club and the brand in key markets is huge. We are the largest Italian team in the US. We are the third largest international team in China. These are big economies. Football is growing tremendously and in particular the USA, Canada and Mexico will be hosting the World Cup next time and we see potential for growth there. Growth isn’t just a lot in terms of social media like followers because it’s very difficult to commercialize that. But it’s just growth in the sense that we need to make ourselves relevant. How we do it: naturally win. Winning is not the panacea, but it is very important. After winning the Scudetto, we see increased interest internationally. As an association, we have to grow internationally. Once we have our own stadium we need to find other sources of income to grow and here we see the international market as very important.”

On convincing people with little interest in football or to come to San Siro to support AC Milan:

With the merging of entertainment, music and sport you meet a different audience and that’s why we’ve been doing things very differently than other clubs for the last four years because we had to. The previous owner in 2018, we did not perform on the court. S owe looked for alternatives to funding. During the pandemic we had organized a digital concert where some of the biggest artists performed from their living room. We did that with Rocnation and it was a music concert called From Milan with Love, which is a pretty cool concept and all of that, if you market yourself in a different way, you also have the opportunity, a different audience to attract. So we’re looking at how we can bring those interests together, because ultimately it’s also about winning over the fans, but it’s also important to differentiate yourself from the other clubs.”

Is AC Milan an entertainment company or a football club? Casper Stylsvig replied as follows:

“(smiles) Depends who you ask. It’s a very sensitive question. From my point of view, the product is football. But I do think we need to see ourselves as an entertainment company. We have to make sure people are still entertained when performance on the pitch isn’t going according to plan and how do we do that? We don’t control the product on the court, but we control the product outside the court. If we could develop an experience that people would still come for, I think we would have done pretty well.”

This was a huge brand that has been in decline for a decade. In 2003 we had the same level of turnover as Real Madrid, but in 15 years we have clearly fallen behind. Like any company, they cannot afford to lose 200 to 300 million euros a year.”

You can listen to the rest of the interview Joe Pompliano‘s YouTube channel below.

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