Preparing to complete a ninth Serie A campaign without winning the scudetto, AC Milan decided that returning to the pinnacle of club soccer required a new approach.
Roc Nation, the entertainment agency of US rapper Jay-Z is at the center of it, linking up with Milan to scour the world for sponsors, and use concerts and other high-profile events to attract new fans.
And who better to ask about how to end a title drought than the team who just won their league for the first time in 30 years?
“We have been talking to Liverpool, because they’ve been through the same path as we are going through now,” Milan chief revenue officer Casper Stylsvig told reporters on Wednesday.
Milan are enduring their longest Serie A drought since the 1980s. Despite beating leaders Juventus on Tuesday, even the top four Champions League places are out of reach this season.
It has been seven years since Milan last competed in Europe’s elite competition.
“We’re working very hard to get back to where we should be, and from that perspective, it does help open doors when you have won seven Champions Leagues,” Stylsvig said. “Playing European football is top of the agenda. It is our natural habitat and somewhere we should be.”
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the first public manifestation of the partnership with Roc Nation when Milan staged a live virtual fundraising concert headlined by Alicia Keys.
“I do think merging sport and entertainment could be the way of engaging new fans,” Stylsvig said.
“The world has changed dramatically and we need to follow suit. Roc Nation is helping us, challenging us with that, having someone on the sideline to do that,” he said.
On the field, Atalanta BC beat UC Sampdoria 2-0, with second-half goals from Rafael Toloi and Luis Muriel securing their ninth straight league victory and moving them within nine points of leaders Juventus.
AS Roma stayed fifth, albeit 13 points adrift of fourth-placed Inter, as French midfielder Jordan Veretout capped a 2-1 comeback victory over Parma.
Earlier, SSC Napoli claimed a 2-1 win over Genoa, ACF Fiorentina and Cagliari played out a 0-0 draw, Brescia lost 3-1 against Torino and US Sassuolo beat Bologna 2-1.
Additional reporting by AFP
Barcelona on Wednesday kept their faint title hopes alive and doomed RCD Espanyol to relegation as Luis Suarez’s goal proved the winner in a pivotal Catalan derby at the top and bottom of La Liga.
A cagey contest at Camp Nou exploded into life for six frantic minutes at the start of the second half as Ansu Fati and Pol Lozano were sent off, leaving each side with 10 men before Suarez struck.
Suarez scored after another superb contribution from a reinvigorated Antoine Griezmann, his backheel setting up Lionel Messi to shoot, with Suarez turning in the rebound.
The 1-0 victory moved Barca to within a point of Real Madrid, who are to play Deportivo Alaves today.
Espanyol, rooted to the bottom of the table, will be relegated. They sit 11 points adrift of safety with only three games left to play.
Earlier, Villarreal beat Getafe 3-1 and Real Betis Balompie downed CA Osasuna 3-0.
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