New Sponsorship Deal Penned by Roma Generates a Ruckus

Roma have found a new main sponsor after starting the season without one, but it caused a political stir. The club announced a two-year agreement with Riyadh Season, a festival organized by the Saudi government, on Wednesday. It’ll begin in October and will be attended by several companies in the entertainment and hospitality businesses and sports. The last edition attracted over ten million visitors. The Giallorossi will play a couple of friendlies against local teams.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the deal will fetch €12.5M annually, becoming the richest in the history of the club in its kind. But there are some optics problems.

Riyadh and Rome are competing to host the 2030 Expo. The choice will be made on November 28th in Paris, when 179 countries will cast their votes. While the two events aren’t directly connected, the promoters are the same.

The choice of the club wrong-footed the local and national authorities, which are lobbying to win the race. Even more so since the team and the City have been working together to further the project to build a new stadium in the Pietralata area.

Mayor Roberto Gualtieri was reportedly informed by Roma beforehand. He didn’t look pleased with the choice but didn’t elaborate in his first comments. The execs argued they were in a rush to seal the deal since the festival will start soon, so they couldn’t wait until after the 2030 Expo decision.

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