MILAN (Reuters) -AC Milan halved its full-year loss as the Serie A Italian football club’s improved pitch performance boosted TV revenues and limited pandemic damage, it said on Tuesday.
Controlled by U.S. investment fund Elliott, the seven-time European champions reported a loss of 96.4 million euros ($112.2 million) for the year-ending June 30, compared with a record 194.6 million loss the previous year.
“Positive sports performance in the domestic league and participation in UEFA Europa League lifted audiovisual rights income by some 75 million euros,” the club said in a statement after its annual shareholder meeting. Its TV rights revenue totalled 63.4 million euro the year before.
The club estimated that COVID-19 reduced 2020-2021 earnings by 55 million euros, including the loss of ticket sales due to closed-door matches to stem contagion. Total revenue rose by 36% to 261.1 million euros.
After playing in the UEFA Europa League last season, AC Milan qualified for the Champions League for the first time since 2013-2014 as it finished second in Italy’s top flight soccer league. The Rossoneri, as the team is nicknamed, are now on the top of Serie A standings after nine matches.
“If we manage to qualify for Champions League, and this is our goal, it’s not unthinkable zeroing our losses within next two years,” club chairman Paolo Scaroni told journalists during an online press briefing.
AC Milan and city rival Inter Milan have resumed talks with local authorities over long-standing plans for a new stadium to replace the nearly century-old San Siro. The proposal, partly delayed by the pandemic, is seen as crucial to compete with top European rivals which own stadiums.
To speed up the negotiations, the clubs are now suggesting to focus discussions on the stadium as they are reviewing a wider real estate project for the district surrounding the arena.
“Let’s start with the stadium, and then we can talk about the real estate plan,” Scaroni said.
($1 = 0.8593 euros)
(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Valentina Za, Richard Chang and Mike Harrison)