Italian Soccer Team’s New Private Equity Owner Seeks New Stadium

Oct 14 2011 | 7:55am ET

Private equity manager Thomas DiBenedetto is looking for new digs for his latest purchase: an Italian soccer team.

DiBenedetto, president of Junction Investors and Boston International Group, and his partners, Raptor Capital Management founder James Pallotta and UniCredit, bought AS Roma earlier this year. Now, DiBenedetto is scouting sites for a potential new stadium.

“It’s become quite critical to have an experience at your stadium or a ballpark that is special,” DiBenedetto, a minority owner of the Boston Red Sox and English soccer team Liverpool Football Club, told Bloomberg News. “You have to create an experience and if you don’t, people are not going to come. I think that’s happened to a certain extent in Italy.”

DiBenedetto said he hoped to have a new stadium built within five years, in time for Italy to host the 2016 European Championship. Currently, Roma shares Rome’s Stadio Olimpico with arch-rival Lazio; both rent the stadium from Italy’s Olympic Committee.

At Stadio Olympico, fans are separated from the soccer field by a running track.

Speaking to Bloomberg at Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea Football Club, DiBenedetto said, “You look out here and the closeness of the seats, it’s a different experience so the passion of the fans grows and its exhilarating for you to cheer for your home team and that in turn has a big impact on the players.”

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