Atalanta: How to reach the sporting and financial elite in 5 years?

Atalanta: How to reach the sporting and financial elite in 5 years?

It took 5 years for the club from Bergamo (northern Italy) to transform from an average club to one of the world elite.

Atalanta is an example of success especially when due to COVID, many clubs are struggling to establish more diversified and sustainable business models or worse, simply looking to survive.

The success story of the club began when manager Gian Piero Gasperini joined in 2016. Despite starting with a series of continuous defeats, he managed to transmit the winning style and identity to each of the members of the squad.

Jelang vs. Juventus; Kamar Ganti Atalanta Panas, Papu Gomez-Gasperini Tegang

At the end of his first season, he got fourth place in Serie A and after an absence of 26 years, he managed to qualify for the Europa League.

The improvement was constant, reaching in the following seasons a seventh place and two third places. The last two results earned them a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage: in the 2019-20 season, the team went to the quarterfinals, where they were eliminated by Paris Saint-Germain , while in the last was defeated by Real Madrid in the second round.

However, what is interesting about this model is that not only have they registered a continuous improvement in sports results, but also in financial ones.

Even despite the devastating impacts of the pandemic, Atalanta are one of the few clubs in Europe that managed to post a profit in the 2020 financial year .

What was the reason for this enormous result?

Gasperini, the DT of Atalanta who put a padlock on Catenaccio and is the "dentist" by Guardiola

Next, at Proper Soccer we provide you with the 5 key factors that explain the remarkable financial evolution of Atalanta:

  1. Sustained and diversified income

From 2016 to 2020, Atalanta's total operating income almost tripled and narrowed the income gap vs the group of big traditional clubs.

The impressive growth was mainly due to its constant participation in international club competitions , such as the Europa League and the Champions League, which generated €61 million in 2020 , close to 40% of the Club's total revenue.

Commercial revenue also grew from €16.5 million to €30 million , a growth of 80% in just five years:

Despite this huge growth, business revenue still has a lot of potential; while today they receive a combined €9m from the front sponsor on their jersey, Israeli financial services company Plus500 and their kit manufacturer Joma, Juventus receive 10 times as much from (Jeep) sponsor and kit supplier ( Adidas) combined.

Revenues for 2021 will even improve further with post-pandemic normalization, as spectators will be able to enter its completely renovated “Gewiss” Stadium.

  1. Balanced operating expenses

To maintain the positive sporting results of the team, from 2016 to 2020 the personnel costs (which includes players and staff) have grown 81% from 42 to 74 million euros per year currently.

Despite this increase in operating costs, they are still well below other similar Clubs. For example AC Milan, AS Roma or SSC Napoli spend twice as much, Inter 2.5 times (198 million) and Juventus almost 4 times (284 million).

Therefore, as revenues grew, the ratio of staff costs to revenue was not only controlled, even reduced: the ratio fell from 71% in 2016 to 49% in 2020, an exceptionally low ratio among the best clubs in Europe. .

  1. Optimal Purchase-Sale of Players

A key factor in Atalanta's recent rise to glory is their exemplary player-exchange activity, which is also linked to Gasperini: They have excelled in integrating homegrown players from the club itself and a balanced and prosperous player-exchange practice that they have provided the foundation for development and growth both on and off the field.

In fact, in each of the last five years, Atalanta registered a positive balance for buying and selling players: it went from 22 million euros in 2016, to 68 million euros in 2020 (despite the pandemic).

Earlier in 2021, for example, they sold 18-year-old Amad Diallo to Manchester United for £19m: the Ivory Coast winger joined Atalanta's academy at the age of 13.

In addition, they also dominate the search for new talent in secondary markets. One of the best examples is the signing of Robin Gosens from the Dutch Heracles Almelo in 2017 for around €1 million; the 26-year-old defender is now valued at €30m.

Atalanta also make significant profits from many talented players, either developed in-house through their academy system, or acquired cheaply from less prominent leagues: one example is Sweden's Dejan Kulusevski who was sold to Juventus for €35m. euros, while it cost them only 3.5 million in 2016.

Overall, the positive results of the purchase-sale of players are also palpable if we observe the revaluation of Atalanta's starting 11 : while the acquisition cost of these 11 players was 95 million euros, their current value is 220 million euros. euros (125 million euros or 235% increase in workforce value).

  1. Higher income is good, higher profitability is better!

Steady growth in operating income and gains from player disposals have been instrumental to the club's positive net results over the past five years.

Comparing their accumulated earnings with the net result of other major Italian clubs, we find that Atalanta is the best financially performing Italian team, amassing an aggregate profit of €129 million from 2016 to 2021.

In fact, they made an average margin of €25m per year, while other teams like Juventus, Inter, Roma and Milan posted absolute losses in the same time frame:

  1. Translate sporting success into Social Recognition

Currently, any field that represents sporting success must be translated into social recognition (through networks) to achieve and consolidate commercial income in the medium term.

The growing popularity of Atalanta on social networks is further proof of its exponential growth: the club has increased its followers by more than half a million in one year, which undoubtedly increases its value as a brand and therefore attracts new sponsors and players to become part of the project.

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