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Two Americans want to make Roma world-class. Will the grim reality of Italian soccer let them?

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Zanzi tells me that Roma’s owners believe they have tapped into one of the most undervalued teams in professional sports. Like the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers or Real Madrid, Roma is one of the few teams identified by a city that is instantly recognizable around the globe. They believe that by leveraging American sports business knowhow — from a multi-tiered digital marketing strategy to an enhanced stadium experience — they can build one of the biggest brands in the world.

Listening to the clear and logical way Zanzi lays out the strategy, you almost wonder why it has taken so long for American investors to realize the growth potential of a club like Roma. But implied in what Zanzi is saying isn’t just a reworking of a mismanaged club, it suggests transforming the entire way the Italian soccer league thinks and markets itself as a business organization. So I ask him the obvious question. What about Italy?

“There’s clearly some old school components to Italian football,” Zanzi admits. “But we are really careful not to make it seem like this is an American versus Italian operation. We look at it as best practices. The fact that we are an American group, gives us some background in some areas of sports marking that aren’t as cultivated in Italy.”

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Wow, I hope the Roma owners succeed!

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