Football: Udinese sold to Red Bull? Here’s why is complicated

Udine is a little city in the north-east of Italy, known for two reasons: being close to Venice and its Udinese Calcio football club. This is why there’s no surprise in the activism of its citizens against the rumors saying Red Bull is buying their team. While no official statement came out of Udinese’s headquarters, sources say Red Bull will appear in Udinese’s operations yet the next season, after a 90-milion transaction. If things will happen, italian hands will loose another piece of their championship, after what happened to Roma, Inter Milan and Ac Milan. In any case, this negotiation seems complicated and, in the next paragraphs, we are telling you why.

Why Is this Doable
Let’s start from Dacia Arena’s naming rights: this won’t be a problem, beacuse the car brand is a partner of Red Bull F1 team. On the other side, we need to see what Brexit will economically bring to Giampaolo Pozzo’s fortune, owner of both Udinese Calcio and Watford: investing on a extra-european team may be more convenient than doing it in Europe — Or maybe not — , so God only knows if this will make negotiations faster or slower. 
But it’s no doubt that the Red Bull fame — and wealth — will bring popularity next to the city of Udine. With billions, trophies may come: take a look at results in Formula One, or ice Hockey.

A view of Udine’s Piazza Libertà

Why is this Crazy
People in Udine’s region — Friuli Venezia Giulia — are very traditionals: they identify themselves with their dialect, good wine, history of the land, and in Udinese. It’s understandable their anger after their iconic team may have logo, jersey and name standardized with many other around the world. 
That’s the thing scaring supporters already, and that’s how Red Bull deals with its acquisitions: traditions out and marketing first. Same protest happened in Salzburg, and where exatcly Udinese’s fans supporting austrians in protests.

At last, what do I think? In order to win something relevant in its history, Udinese needs a shock, but probably not this shock. A partnership with Red Bull could be a good Idea: jersey sponsor would be charming, money would be helpful and we all know Red Bull is amazing in creativity too. But, in Red Bull hands, we already know where will traditional branding go and it’s not the right thing for the environment of Udine and it’s region. Udinese has to remain Udinese just like Inter Milan, Roma and Milan did under their new properties. More than a whim, it’s a matter of branding — Serie A championship is much more appealing than you could ever imagine — , and it’s effective results: with a potential “Red Bull Udine Team”, Dacia Arena will be much emptier than what usually is.

Marco Pighizzini — SportsComm