Thursday, May 3, 2012

Extra Time: AS RomAmerica

If only Vespucci had been born in the Eternal City instead of Firenze, the post title would be perfect. That drat-ness aside, we're going to do things a little different this time. Usually, I come here to drop quotes that didn't make it into the final cut of the corresponding linked Postcard From Europe feature.

This time, however, I'll be offering up the stray tidbits and factoids I learned. So here goes:

  • First off, let's explain the current hands-on leadership structure. Thomas Di Benedetto is the prez, but he's stepped back to allow the reins to fall to Boston Celtic part-owner James Palotta and former New York Knicks marketing exec Mark Pannes. Those two guys are the ones setting up and overseeing all these deals.
  • Roma are trying to gain a presence inside Disney's worldwide theme parks (Mr. Totti's Wild Ride, anyone?).
  • The Giallorossi will be trying to emulate the periphery star presence of the old New York Cosmos. Expect to see the likes of Kevin Garnett and Serena Williams hangin' out around their summer U.S. tour.
  • They can't begin the deal yet, but the club will switch gear from Kappa to Nike in either 2015 (a buy-out choice which would cost about $2 million) or 2017. They've also added a top-notch former adidas executive, so try to remember this time when you weren't awash in Roma merchandise every time you step into a sporting goods store or specialty soccer shop. It's-a-coming. 
  • While all things on campus in Rome aren't really any different, that could also soon change to an extent. The club wants to find one new American executive ace to take up base camp.
  • While Roma waits on their new stadium, they will be making a summer modification that is now typical in America, but will be entirely unique in Italy: a food court terrace with direct view of the action.
  • We can expect Roma to choose the site for their new stadium (from around 10 proposals) by July. Their Stadio Olimpico lease expires at the end of the 2015/16 season, so that's the target move-in date. While not a final draft, you can get an idea of what the architects are hard at work on (obviously, it's a great bet that Kappa's name and logo won't be found when the building opens for business). Click for full size.

- Greg Seltzer

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