The J Hotel in Turin, officially launched at the end of November 2019, has opened a new frontier in the hospitality sector in Italy. The 4-star hotel, located few steps away from the Allianz Stadium and the Continassa, respectively official playing field and training center of Juventus F.C., has 138 keys, 35 of which are reserved exclusively for footballers and staff. The ownership of the hotel is divided between the Club (40%) and the Lindbergh Hotels Group (60%), which manages its operations.
The “Football Hotel” formula finally arrives in Italy, as football clubs, owners of the stadium in which they play, invest in hotels to host the team’s pre-match retreats and the fans. The trend could not have started but in England, home, together with Italy, of the game of football, which already in 2015 had seen the birth of the Football Hotels close to Old Trafford, Manchester United’s stadium, first proposals of which came from glorious former players of the “Red Devils” such as Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. Chelsea F.C. also recently opened two hotels next to the historical Stamford Bridge stadium, the Millennium & Copthorne Hotels at Chelsea Football Club. Liverpool F.C. have instead decided to call their hotel as the stadium itself: TIA, This Is Anfield. The three historical English clubs have been followed by another team of more recent fame, Tottenham F.C.: the Hotspurs have in fact presented a plan to build a hotel next to their stadium in the coming years.
What about the other Italian clubs then? Mainly thanks to foreign investments in football, Italian clubs are slowly progressing towards the construction of self-owned facilities: few days ago, for example, came the announcement of an agreement among Internazionale F.C., A.C. Milan and The City of Milan for the construction of the new stadium, which the two Clubs will be co-owners of. The project includes the building of a CityLife-like shopping centre, in which at least one hotel will be built. Leaving football, but remaining in Milan, the recent renovation of the old PalaLido, former home of Pallacanestro Olimpia Milano now known as Allianz Cloud, offers the opportunity to invest in the nearby hotels, given the availability of empty buildings and large spaces for construction.
The city of Rome could also soon offer new opportunities: the troubled project to build the AS Roma stadium, although not certain yet, may include the construction of one or more buildings for hospitality purposes. Furthermore, rumors say there is an ongoing negotiation for the creation of a “rotating” Football Hotel close to the San Paolo stadium in Naples.
The acquisitions of other sport clubs by foreign investors, as just happened with Fiorentina F.C., will hopefully represent a line of continuity for infrastructure investments in playing facilities, creating new opportunities for hotel developers.