With attendance at Italian soccer games lagging, Carlo Tavecchio, the president of the country’s football association, has an idea to get more people through the turnstiles:
“There shouldn’t only be football in stadiums, there should also be pharmacies, cinemas, supermarkets –we need to have more social activities,” Tavecchio said, per ESPN FC. “There could even be lap dancing.”
Tavecchio has a point. Stadiums these days are more than just places to host sporting events. They are major revenue drivers for franchises, and without a modern facility, a team has little chance to compete against teams that do have shiny new digs, replete with suites, club seats, etc.
In European soccer, teams from different countries compete against each other in the Champions League and Europa League, and with the exception of Juventus and Udinese, most Serie A teams are playing in stadiums that are more than 25 years old. Serie A games averaged 22,164 fans last season, way less than the 41,511 German Bundesliga games drew and and the 35,822 at Premier League games. In fact, the Italian attendance figure is just a hair larger than MLS games draw.
So, yes, something has to be done to reinvigorate Serie A soccer crowds, we get that.
But lap dances?
I mean, we’re all for thinking outside the box and we’re always in favor of some T&A, but putting strippers in stadiums comes at the risk of turning off a big part of your fan base – families.
Tavechio’s comments won’t surprise anyone who’s familiar with him. During the campaign that won him the election to the Italian soccer presidency, he made a reference to an African player “eating bananas,” a comment for which he was suspended by FIFA and UEFA. He’s also been forced to defend himself over comments many deemed anti-gay and anti-Semitic.
Compared to all that, the notion of soccer fans get lap dances isn’t offensive at all!