The departures of veterans like Clarence Seedorf and Gennaro Gattuso combined with the sales of star players Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva have caused season ticket sales to plummet to record lows, according to Football Italia.
“The Diavolo have sold only 19,283 season tickets to date,” the report says. “According to Tuttosport, this could well be a new record for the [owner] Silvio Berlusconi era.
Only twice before has that figure gone below 30,000 – the time when Kaka joined Real Madrid in 2009-10 for 27,865 tickets and a year later 28,754.
In July, fans protested outside of club headquarters after Silva and Ibrahimovic were sold. The scenes included a mock funeral — presumably to mark the death of their chances of winning in Italy or Europe. Others launched a class-action lawsuit against the club, claiming they were mislead into thinking the two stars would remain with the team. Milan offered refunds to irate fans, and a few accepted. Many more never bothered purchasing tickets in the first place.
Berlusconi bought the storied club in 1986, bankrolling it to eight Serie A and five UEFA Champions League titles. But the Italian game is entering a new era of fiscal sanity, and Milan is taking the lead. It shed nearly 40 percent of its payroll in the last two seasons, planning to build around a core players that does not include the iconic cast of characters so familiar to Milan fans.
The frosty economic climate in Italy certainly is a factor in explaining the low ticket sales, but it’s more likely that Robinho, Pato, Ignazio Abate and Kevin-Prince Boateng just don’t excite Milan fans like their predecessors did not too long ago.
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