Jam-packed tonight, but iconic Milan stadium is old, dirty and too big
Internazionale and AC Milan face each other in the Champions League semifinals tonight (9 p.m.) for the second time in seven days at soccer temple Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, better known in the Netherlands as the San Siro stadium.
The Stadio Giuseppe Meazza – the official name is used for Inter’s home games, but for Milan’s home club it is called San Siro – is not only a soccer temple, it is also old, dirty ánd in government hands.
The two soccer clubs’ stadium is not bringing in enough money. Research has made it clear that Inter and Milan are losing a lot of money on match days because they do not own the stadium. Moreover, commercial opportunities are limited.
Inter earns 44 million euros in matchday revenues on an annual basis, Milan 33 million euros. By comparison, since English club Tottenham Hotspur has a new stadium, the club earns 125 million euros a year during matches.
Already eight years ago, Inter came to the conclusion that a replacement for the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza was needed. Four years later, Milan joined Inter to work together on a new home. However, a renovation of San Siro, built in 1955, was considered too expensive and complex.
In 2021, a “unique” design inspired by the Duomo and Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, was roundly announced. But around La Cattedrale, which should be finished in 2027 and was supposed to help revitalize both Milanese clubs, things have gone pretty quiet.
Anyone who watched the first game of the Champions League city derby (2-0 for Inter) last week may have wondered whether a new stadium should be built at all. San Siro was packed: interest in the match was so great that Milan could have sold out the stadium as many as 26 times.
Moreover, the atmosphere was phenomenal. Videos of the Milan fans’ impressively loud anthem (Sarà perché ti amo) went viral. viral On TikTok and Instagram. Pure advertising for the stadium.
But both Milan and Inter are still convinced that a new home is the best solution. While the soccer temple was full in the Champions League, it almost never succeeds in Serie A.
Up to 80,000 spectators can be accommodated at San Siro, following the stadium’s significant expansion for the 1990 World Cup. With the – often not well-filled – third ring that was put on it then, Milan and Inter are still struggling today.
Four clubs own stadium
Rival Juventus was in the same boat with the huge Delle Alpi. In the end, that club decided to demolish its old home in Turin and replace it with the much smaller Allianz Stadium.
Juve showed Italy that a modest but full stadium is much better for the club’s image. And brings in more revenue. Few clubs in Italy own the local soccer stadium. Only four professional clubs own their stadiums: Udinese, Sassuolo, Atalanta and Juventus.
Developments around La Cattedrale stalled last year as protests hampered its construction. Milan City Council, owner of San Siro, eventually advised Milan and Inter to come up with other plans.
Since then, both clubs have been looking around and orienting themselves to a new venue. They are now even considering abandoning the “La Cattedrale” design altogether.
Milan previously opted for a construction project in the La Maura neighborhood, where a new stadium should rise on the site of the horse racing track. That appears – again for bureaucratic reasons – to be not going to happen. Milan and Inter are now said to be thinking again of a stadium on the parking lot next to San Siro.
All in all, a new stadium is not going to happen in Milan anytime soon. Soccer romantics will be quite able to live with that.
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