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AS Roma, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Create Italian Pro Soccer Presence for America’s Youth

Multi-year agreement makes AS Roma the official pro football club of Disney's youth sports complex, the team’s official winter home; Joint venture cements Disney's stature as the U.S. leading youth soccer venue, expands AS Roma brand in the U.S.

March 19, 2012 - PRLog -- Famed Italian football club AS Roma is teaming up with ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to bring elite European professional football to youth athletes through a multi-faceted strategic agreement.  The groundbreaking partnership also calls for Roma’s first-team to train at the facility during its Serie A winter break, which is a first for an Italian League team.

As part of the six-year deal, the ESPN sports complex at Walt Disney World Resort, the leading multi-sports venue for amateur athletes in the United States, becomes the official winter training home of AS Roma, and the three-time Serie A champions become the sports complex’s official professional football team.  Additionally, AS Roma will have signage throughout the sports complex, serve as presenting sponsor of several Disney-owned youth soccer events there and have one of its youth academy teams compete in Disney’s Soccer Showcase.

AS Roma’s involvement with ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex underscores the sports complex’s stature as the nation’s top youth soccer venue, which annually hosts pro soccer events as well as the country’s most prestigious youth soccer tournament, Disney’s Soccer Showcase. AS Roma joins the Atlanta Braves (Major League Baseball), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (National Football League) and the Orlando Magic (National Basketball Association) as professional sports franchises that have trained at the ESPN sports complex at Disney.

The joint venture also integrates the Italian football club, winner of nine Coppa Italia titles and two Supercoppa Italiana crowns, into the U.S. youth soccer market where it hopes to expand its fan base.

“With this extensive relationship with AS Roma, we are excited about the many possibilities we have for creating even more unique world-class football experiences for the athletes, coaches and fans at our sports complex, as well as helping raise AS Roma’s profile among American soccer fans,’’ said Disney Sports Development Manager Patrick Dicks. “AS Roma’s deep involvement with us adds greater momentum domestically and internationally for our soccer program which continues to be a leader within American youth soccer.’’  

“We are extremely excited about this new partnership with Disney,” said Mark Pannes, Chief Executive Officer, AS Roma.  “It aligns us with one of, if not the, most recognizable and respected brands in the world.  It is a priority of our new U.S. based ownership group to form strong partnerships with world-renowned brands that provide growth opportunities for AS Roma in the U.S. and around the globe.  This is a spectacular first step of what we believe will be many more for us in the U.S. and a powerful platform enabling us to engage and expand our rapidly growing fan base.”

“The facilities are tremendously impressive,” said Franco Baldini, director general of football operations for AS Roma.  “The ability to come here to train at this state-of-the-art complex in good weather during the Serie A winter break will be a big advantage.”

The agreement with AS Roma comes on the heels of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex’s recent expansion involving the addition of four outdoor playing fields four months ago. In all, the sports complex has more than 30 multi-purpose outdoor fields which are used for the 12 soccer events held at the complex each year.

For more information about ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, visit www.espnwwos.com. For more information about AS Roma, visit www.asroma.com.

About ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 350 events a year, is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the nation, accommodating 70 different sports and athletes from more than 70 countries.  Designed to take youth sports to the next level, the 270-acre facility features multiple competition venues, including Champion Stadium, the HP Field House, the Jostens Center, the Hess Sports Fields, a track & field facility, a tennis complex and a baseball/softball sportsplex. It is also home to the ESPN Innovation Lab, a real-world testing ground for the ESPN Emerging Technology Group that develops ground-breaking on-air products like Ball Track and ESPN Snap Zoom, as well as development of its new 3-D television channel.  In addition, the complex features 56 high-definition cameras and 40 high-definition video screens, including three jumbo screens, which can capture and display footage from any event taking place at the complex.  The camera and video screens, as well as a 20-zone audio system, are controlled through the state-of-the-art HD and 3-D Production Center with direct links to ESPN facilities in Bristol, Conn., New York and Los Angeles.  For more information, visit www.disneysportsnews.com for press releases, photos and videos.  Follow us on Twitter at @DisneySports and on Facebook.

AS Roma

Founded in 1927, the legendary AS Roma, plays in world-renowned Italian Serie A football league.  The Rome based professional team has won three Serie A titles, nine Coppa Italia titles and two Supercoppa Italiana titles.  AS Roma’s youth academy regularly produce more Serie A players than any other in Italy.  The Giallorossi, whom call Stadio Olympico home, is the only Italian League team to be owned by a group based in the U.S.  The group, based out of Boston, MA, is led by Raptor Group’s James Pallotta.


Tony Morreale, Walt Disney World Public Relations – 407.566.5339

Eric Gelfand, AS Roma - 917-509-2550

Joe Favorito, AS Roma - 917-566-8345

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Long time sports and entertainment communications, marketing and branding executive now handling a series of consulting businesses and freelance projects. Check out our best practices site at joefavorito.com or email us at fatherknickerbocker1@yahoo.com.

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Tags:Disney, As Roma, Fifa, Soccer, Sports Business, Mark Panus, Sports Marketing, Italian Soccer, Espn, Youth Sports
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