AS Roma captured its first victory of the season by beating Inter 3-1 at San Siro in Milan on Sunday. The win was a major statement for Roma (1-0-1), who are in direct competition with Inter (1-1-0) for a spot in next year’s Champions League. Each goal was more emphatic than the last, as Alessandro Florenzi, Pablo Osvaldo, and Marquinho scored.
Captain Francesco Totti assisted on two goals, finding Florenzi open in the penalty area to head in the first goal in the 15th minute and then sending a through ball for Osvaldo to chip into the net in the 67th minute. Totti was the engine, stepping up after Daniele De Rossi came out in the first half after being injured following a hard tackle by Alvaro Pereira. Meanwhile, Florenzi made his first start in place of Michael Bradley (thigh), flourishing against Inter and whatever manager Andrea Stramaccioni, his former coach, threw at him in midfield.
After missing out on Champions League play the last two years, Roma seems to have returned to a sufficient level. But Roma isn’t only looking to do better against teams like Inter, AC Milan, and Juventus on the field – it is also trying to compete against these teams for an international name.
Since Roma was taken over by Celtics partner James Pallotta and Red Sox part-owner Thomas DiBenedetto two years ago, the club has attempted to build a world-renown brand name. Though Pallotta officially took over the reins as club president last week, he had already done a lot to take Roma to the next level.
In addition to elevating American interest in the club and working with municipal Roman authorities to build a new, soccer-only stadium by 2016, Pallotta and Roma’s front office have revolutionized the gameday experience for the Italian soccer fan. It’s a kind of change that has taken place with a small amount of European teams, such as Chelsea, Juventus, and Barcelona.
Roma recently finished renovations to the Olympic Stadium by building the “Tribuna 1927,” a luxurious VIP area similar to the box seats at Gillette Stadium and the Ultimate Deck at Fenway Park. Named in honor of the club’s founding year, the state-of-the-art VIP area features a dining room where Roma fans can mingle while eating elegant food prepared by show cooks and look out of large windows in the dining area to see the players march onto the field before first and second half kickoffs.
And be sure not to blink if you’re ever at a game in Rome, as the video screens at both ends of the field do not show replays. The only way to see replays during a game is to sit in Tribuna 1927, where fans have a touch-screen monitor all to themselves that not only shows in-game highlights, but also provides footage of Roma players entering the stadium and getting ready in the locker rooms.
“It’s a new structure in Italy,” said Leonardo Rossi, head of premium ticket sales and formerly of Juventus, which recently built a new stadium in Turin. “Very modern. The first point is the quality, it’s of a new kind of level. We have all-inclusive services such as the dining room and the vantage points in the new seats that are truly unique.”
The Olympic Stadium has an athletics track, which distances fans from the playing field. But Tribuna 1927 also provides an opportunity to sit closer to the field.
The Italian Olympic Committee rents out the stadium to both Roma and rival Lazio, but Tribuna 1927 is only available for Roma fans. It’s a leg up that “Giallorossi” supporters have over Laziali. It’s also a step in building the relationship between club and fan, symbolizing Roma’s intention to succeed off the field as well as on the field.
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