Boston Group Looks to Buy Roma
- Updated: March 9, 2011
For the second time in six months, another Boston-based group is making waves on the international soccer front.
After New England Sports Ventures, the ownership group that own the Boston Red Sox, bought Liverpool last fall, it appears that another Red Sox partner, Thomas DiBenedetto, is in talks along with five other investors to buy Italian Serie A club AS Roma.
Roma is currently co-owned by the Sensi Family and UniCredit SpA. The Sensi Family gained wealth from the late Franco Sensi, an oil tycoon and former Mayor of Visso, a town in central Italy in between Ascoli and Perugia. Sensi’s daughter Rosella is the current owner of AS Roma.
Roma, who currently sit sixth in the Italian Serie A, has been struggling to fill the stadium and boost sales. The Italian soccer market took a major hit after the 2005-2006 season, when refereeing scandals punished two clubs and hurt the image of the league.
AS Roma shares the Stadio Olimpico with Lazio and generated 8.7 million euros from ticket sales last year — a mere tenth of what Arsenal takes in at Emirates Stadium in London.
Roma, which won its last Italian title in 2001, was put up for sale in July after the Sensi family accumulated a whopping debt of more than 300 million euros ($416 million) with Milan-based UniCredit. The bank agreed to swap the debt for equity and jointly owns a 67 percent stake in the team with the Sensis’ oil company Italpetroli SpA.