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Pallotta Talks Stadium, Revenue and Juventus

Earlier today, James Pallotta spoke about Roma’s quest to catch up with Juventus, citing the Stadio della Roma as the solution.

AS Roma v Juventus FC - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

For all intents and purposes, all that has stood between Roma and glory, between the fulfilment of "the project" and continued frustration has been, well, it’s been Juventus; let’s not play coy. So it’s only fitting that Roma compares herself to Juve in all matters, both football and finances, the problem that creates is, as we discussed last week, Juventus operates on its own plane of existence; no other club in Italy has their history, their prestige and their financial wherewithal.

Juve also has something no other club in Italy possesses, their own privately controlled stadium, a point Roma president James Pallotta spoke to earlier today, at least in reference to Roma’s ability to close the sizeable gap between them and Juve

It seems that sometimes people just don’t want to understand: Juventus have more revenue than us, they can spend more money than us...We can’t do it, there are rules about investment. When we have our stadium, the gap will be reduced and we’ll enter the top 10 in Europe.

Now I know what you’re thinking "Okay, this is where bren tears into Pallotta...again" and quite honestly that was my initial reaction, but when you dig a bit, there is a kernel of truth there. Using Deloitte’s Football Money league as our basis of comparison, we can see a sizeable revenue gap between Juventus and Roma, particularly in terms of matchday and commercial revenue.

All told Juve pulled down €323.9 million in revenue in 2015, of which €51.4 million was from matchday sources, while €73.5 million came from commercial sources. Roma, meanwhile, pulled in a total of €180.4 million in revenue, with €30.4 million and €36 million stemming from matchday and commercial revenue, respectively. So between those two revenue streams, Roma is some fifty to sixty million behind Juventus. Ready for something really depressing? Juventus made more from broadcasting revenue (€199 million) than Roma did across all measures.

And that’s really the broader, more salient point. As Deloitte pointed out in their report, matchday revenue as a share of total revenue is declining across the game. However, despite that trend, they were quick to point out that Italian clubs lag behind their continental neighbors in terms of matchday revenue

Juventus’ continued domestic dominance, coupled with its run to the Champions League final has helped the club achieve total revenue growth of 16%, and maintain a place in the Money League top ten, increasing the revenue gap between themselves and eleventh placed Borussia Dortmund to over €40m. Despite again having four representatives in the Money League top 20, the Italian clubs continue to struggle to match the growth of many of their Money League peers; in large part due to the continuing lack of stadium development, with the matchday revenue for three of the four Italian Money League clubs in the bottom quartile of this year’s top 20.

So there it is, clear as day—operating in an anachronistic stadium that they don’t even own is hampering Roma’s financial development. Now, the Stadio della Roma catapulting the Giallorossi into Europe’s top ten might be a reach, but it’s not all that simple.

Juventus develops, recruits and purchases star players, which enables them to win titles and go deeper into the Champions League, which boosts their profile, which boosts their broadcast and commercial revenue, which brings in more lucrative sponsorship deals, and so on and so forth.

It’s a mess of circular logic, but it has to start somewhere. Roma can have the nicest stadium in the world, but if they fill it with garbage, people won’t come that often and they certainly won’t spend their hard earned money .

So if you find yourself thinking that the constant churning over of players, of selling stars and buying scrubs, will stop once the stadium is built, think again. Roma's road to the top ten in Europe was never meant to be easy, it requires shrewd planning and investment in a host of categories, and while they've made inroads in public relations and in social media, in the piece that matters, on the pitch, the stop and start approach is holding them back.

We can quibble about the true antecedent of footballing success, but we can’t simply view the Stadio della Roma as a panacea; it’s simply a piece of the puzzle.

It may be the corner piece, the one that sets you on the right path, but it’s merely one of many.