Inter Milan are the 14th Italian football club under American ownership, raising questions about the future of Serie A.

For the past two year, I’ve been sounding the alarm about the financial instability surrounding Inter Milan’s Chinese ownership.

Two years ago, I argued that we were near a Saudi Full takeover of Inter Milan via a direct acquisition from the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Saudi 1 trillion dollar investment fund.

As the estimated 1.3-billion-dollar price tag asked by the Chinese owners was too high, the Saudi waked away.

I continued to argue that given the difficult financial situation of the Suning, Inter Milan ownership would soon pass to the US investment fund that lent €275 million to Inter in 2021.

My warnings proved correct as the Nerazzurri have now fallen into the hands of American investors Oaktree Capital.

U.S. interests now own 14 clubs in the Italian football pyramid.

The Chinese owners of Inter have been unable to repay the $400 million USD loan. This loan expired on May 21st, 2024.

Therefore, Suning lost ownership of Inter to Oaktree.

Oaktree Latest American Owners In Italian Football After Inter Milan Takeover

As of today, US investors control Serie A clubs like AC Milan, Roma, Fiorentina, Genoa and Atalanta. With Inter Milan joining the club.

American owners of Italian football clubs will also be abundant in the Champions League next season. Via three of the top five teams in the Serie A this season, namely Inter Milan, AC Milan and Atalanta.

If we add the Canadian owner of Bologna, North America controls 4 out of 5 of the Italian teams participating in the 2024-2025 Champions league.

Inter, the recent winner of the Italian Scudetto, its 20th, and statistically one of the top five teams in the world, is now the latest casualty of the American investment wave sweeping through Italian football.

While some welcome this as a sign of Serie A’s growing international appeal, others fear it represents a loss of the Italian league’s soul and identity.

What is true is that many of the Italian teams that have been acquired across the different divisions, are in serious financial distress.

Particularly since 2020 Covid 19 and Italian clubs can use a more robust corporate structure and management.

A Familiar Tale Of Debt & Distress

Inter Milan’s financial troubles have been growing for years. The ambitious spending under Chinese conglomerate Suning, while initially bringing success on the pitch, ultimately led to a mountain of debt.

Especially in the aftermath of the global pandemic.

When Suning failed to repay the loan from American investment fund Oaktree Capital, the writing was on the wall.

Oaktree Capital, seized the opportunity to add Inter Milan to its portfolio.

This marks a significant shift in power. Decisions regarding Inter are now made neither in Milan nor Beijing.

But in boardrooms thousands of miles away in Los Angeles, California.

An American Flavor In Italian Football In Both Serie A & Serie B – From Inter To Parma

Inter Milan’s American takeover is not an isolated acquisition.

In recent years, U.S. investors have been steadily acquiring stakes in Italian football clubs to create new revenue streams from the teams as well as from tourism and other related industries.

From the iconic AC Milan, Fiorentina and AS Roma to smaller clubs like Genoa, Venezia, Parma, and Spezia, the Stars and Stripes are flying high over Serie A and Serie B.

A variety of factors drive this trend. These include the relative affordability of Italian clubs compared to their English or Spanish counterparts.

Also, the potential for commercial growth in a passionate football market, and the allure of owning a piece of the sport’s rich history.

What is more, thanks to new technology penetration among football aficionados, US investors believe they can monetize the global Serie A fans base.

The Future Of Italian Football?

The rise of American ownership in Serie A raises important questions about the future of Italian football.

Will this influx of foreign investment revitalize the league, bringing in much-needed capital and management expertise? Or will it erode the unique traditions and culture that make Italian football so beloved?

Only time will tell.

But one thing is certain: the American influence in Serie A and Serie B is here to stay, and its impact will be felt for years to come.

Whether this new era is a blessing or a curse for Italian football remains to be seen.

By: Andrea Zanon

Andrea Zanon is the Founder of Confidente and Empower Capital. With 25 years of entrepreneurship, operations, sustainability and technology experience,

He is an international advisor who has worked for financial institutions and entrepreneurs on sustainability, international affairs and development