MILAN - In the heart of Milan, with the historic Palazzo Durini in Via Santa Maria Valle serving as the backdrop, the four-year agreement between Inter and Infront was presented, representing the new frontier in sponsorship and promotion for stadium services. The first to speak was the Nerazzurri’s managing director Marco Fassone, who warmly thanked the many members of the sporting press who were present, as well as others representing the world of business and other sponsors. He then spoke in detail on the agreement:
"We’re doing research on our part, as president Thohir has stated many times, to develop the club. In the last two years, since I’ve had the responsibility and honour of handling this job, we’ve focused heavily on the economic side and reducing costs. Now is the time to focus on the side that regards increasing revenues; one that sees us on the outside in comparison to other European teams and some in Italy. We have to work on revenue, finding the right partners and choosing the best ways to approach the market.
"President Thohir has motivated us to look beyond Italian borders, and Inter has to make it back once again among the top ten clubs in the world from a sporting and economic standpoint.
"We have some very important business partners in this regard such as Nike, with whom we struck a deal that runs until 2024. But we still have a lot more to do in this sense when it comes to sponsorship activities. Even a historic Italian football stadium like the San Siro, with all its virtues and flaws, has to give us something more from an economic point of view.
"Infront has been chosen as the right partner; a leading organisation in Italy and one of the top in the world. We’ll go a long way together and help the club get back to the leading position it deserves," stressed Fassone.
Nerazzurri president Erick Thohir:
"First of all, thanks to everyone. When I arrived here two months ago I had the feeling that the Serie A – a chain in which the Moratti family and myself represent only a link – had to make it back again to the top of world football. We believe in the new approaches and strategies that have been started, and we foresee even more partners on the horizon who believe in our vision. These are strategies that have proven true in the Premier League, and now in Italy as well we see other teams aiming to follow the same path. This is why Nike, for example, has joined forces with us.
"The important thing between partners is to understand each other and share a mutual trust. We have a deal worth approximately €80 million with Infront over four years. But we’re not thinking of stopping here, and we’ve already discussed other possible ideas.
"We have some pillars that we can build Inter’s future on: good financial health, upcoming investments in the team and players, more transfer campaigns coming, and we’ll sign two new players. This will also help us to help ourselves, and that goes for our strategies as well. We want to become a club on a global basis, and we have to stage events on a global level.
"So this represents an important decision. It’s also important for there to be an agreement between partners in a relationship that continues to become stronger between two companies that must grow for mutual happiness. This is all about long-term projects, and not just a quick fix. I thank those on Inter’s team who are working hard to move things along. And I also want to thank Infront, who have believed in this project and in this new management."
Marco Bogarelli, president of Infront Italy:
"I thank Erick for the trust he’s placed in us. It was quite some time ago when we began courting Inter, with the aim of being able to help the team in their development. I thank president Thohir for the opportunity and it’s crucial to share this project on a daily basis. Together we’ve built a vision of mutual development and an opportunity to place one of the biggest brands in world football in a position they deserve to be in. Eighty million euros represent only a starting point, and we believe we can achieve big goals. The approach, and the development of this special energy Inter has shown they can develop, are our bread and butter. The chance to develop projects and achieve objectives. These challenges don’t frighten us since we face them every day.
"There are two lines of development: the sponsors of a club that originated in Milan and now has hundreds of millions of fans around the world, and the ability to accommodate these fans and turn them into Inter customers. This is what we have to develop.
"Inter have the ability to bring together the interests of all these people, which they do starting at the San Siro, a truly beautiful stadium. We think we can develop the Inter brand towards commercial partners that we are going to seek out. We have to focus on the sponsor’s meaning, which isn’t just about putting a label on a banner, but about those who experience Inter on a daily basis. We’re available to provide this opportunity to develop a common business through the certainties of investment, segmenting the market to create different opportunities in order to fit each sponsor according to its specific needs."
Regarding higher quality in services: "Reducing the number of partners was not an a priori choice. It’s the result of a project for which we can follow a certain number of companies. We want to set out on a business path that will yield significant results. What we can offer the sponsors is a house, a development opportunity that favours a business aimed at consumers and beyond. We hope these companies continue to become more satisfied with us and that they can develop business relations between themselves as well for a 360-degree relationship.
"The segmentation will also be geographical, with the chance to internationally develop Inter’s characteristics and property. From America to Europe to Asia, it’s a segmentation in which we’ll be working together. It’s important to share this project and work on it together. The Inter president will be mainly at the helm for the international aspect. I’d say it’s more natural for him, just as our part is for us, and we’ll be a dependable travelling companion. What we’re proposing to do is meet the demands of the fans around the world. Another objective is that of being able to welcome them into a warm household; for the San Siro that means being able to offer opportunities on both a national and international level. We include the hundreds of millions of fans, in person or watching on TV, in everything that means developing their home, where so many of Inter’s biggest wins have taken place.
"We have an expert and dedicated sales force that will exclusively develop the hospitality sector, and another for sponsorship sales. They are both integrated together and with Inter’s marketing division. We’re ready, and Inter’s desire and abilities are undoubted. It’s up to us to show that they made the right choice."