Erick Thohir’s three pillars

MILAN – Inter president Erick Thohir took questions from the media after this morning’s shareholders’ meeting. Here is part two of what he said.

On the club’s reorganisation
"At the
shareholders’ meeting we agreed to have a reorganisation, that’s why we
now have a MediaCo company to focus on the media and sponsorships. It’s
important for the management, when we make a decision, we make it
collectively. This is why when we discuss things with our partners like
Nike and Pirelli we also understand their needs to have a global

"For example, when we look at our profile in Asia, we
have almost 120 million fans: Inter is recognised and that’s a good
thing compared with the other clubs. But if we look at the list of top
players, only two or three players are recognised. One of whom is
Nagatomo of course. That’s also the reason why we looked at Vidic,
because he is still playing for Manchester United and it’s the number
one league in Asia at this moment. And he’s the captain. We see him as
one of our marketing tools. But at the same time he is also a very good,
strong defender. So the coach and the sporting director want to have
that, and our commercial team agrees. We also look at it in terms of the

"The other story about Hernanes is different. We paid a
big amount to buy Hernanes. But also, from our sponsors’ point of view,
Brazil is one of the big markets. That’s why with Hernanes we feel he’s
not only good for the team, but we also look at it from a commercial
perspective with the networks, with Pirelli, Nike and other partners. He
can have a good presence in Brazil. So all of these decisions are made
collectively by the management board. I don’t make decisions, we make
decisions. I don’t buy the players, Inter buys the players."

"For the reorganisation we have two companies: Inter and MediaCo. For Inter the income will be basically from ticketing, the Academies, tours, merchandising. The MediaCo will focus on TV, sponsorships. So with these two companies, each company will focus on the income they have. For a reorganisation like this, the banks looked at the business plan and they’re comfortable with it. If you look at the top 15 clubs in the world, the average revenue is 260 million, while Inter is still below 200, and Inter is certainly a top team.

"At the shareholders’ meeting we also discussed about the three pillars we have. Number one, to make the club healthy by reorganising. That’s important but it’s also important to increase the revenue of the club, and if you remember the press conference yesterday with Infront, the number is 50% higher than before. So reorganisation is one thing, increasing revenue is another, and then discipline on the financial side."

Internazionale and international
"If you look at many of the clubs right now, in the English Premier League and also Real Madrid, who won last night, and even Bayern Munich, the business model is similar because for them, to balance the budget for the team, it’s also important to be disciplined in keeping spending on salaries below 50% of the revenue.

"If you look at Inter, and this is pillar number two, we want to have a balanced team, and one that performs, but Inter is still one of the highest-spending clubs in Italy, because our revenue is much higher than the other clubs. The last pillar is internationalisation and having a global presence. That’s why we signed the deal in India for our Academy, and work is in progress in Japan, China, South-East Asia and the United States too. We also have a partner for our website in China, and we’re still looking at negotiations for the other countries. Then you have tours: we’ve decided to go to the US and next year we might decide to go to Asia. With all these strategies of course we want to increase the revenue but doing so with discipline. We’re still one of the top spending teams in Serie A and we can be one of the top 15 spenders in Europe if we can achieve the revenue numbers.

"If you’re talking about results, who would have predicted that Bayern Munich v Real Madrid last night would have finished 0-4? Results are important but the most important thing is how we make Inter sustainable and grow continuously because we’re competing with the other teams around the world, not only in Italy. And we believe this business model that’s been implemented is successful and we have to be using the right business models."