“Be Brave and Don’t be Afraid to Make Mistakes” Words of Wisdom with Riccardo Silva, Co-owner of Miami FC
I had the pleasure of interviewing Riccardo Silva, businessman, entrepreneur and owner of Silva International Investments. As owner of Silva International Investments, Riccardo Silva manages and invests in assets across multiple sectors including media, technology, entertainment, sports, real estate and the arts. He is the co-owner of Miami FC, a soccer club that made history this year by becoming the first soccer team in the history of the North American Soccer League to win a Spring and Fall Championship in a single season.
Riccardo has been recognized in the sports industry throughout the years, including being named Best Executive in the Football Media Industry at the Globe Soccer Awards and has been selected to speak at The Global Sports Industry Summit and Davos Sports Forum. Florida International University (FIU), one of the ten largest public universities in the U.S., named its stadium the Riccardo Silva Stadium in recognition of his contributions to the university and to the City of Miami.
What is your “backstory”?
I’m originally from Milan, Italy, and since I can remember I have always been interested in sports, particularly soccer. One of my first jobs was working as an intern at a public relations firm that promoted marathons, and I’ve worked in sports media ever since. In 2001, I became the CEO of Milan Channel, the official TV channel of AC Milan football club, and guided the international development of the channel. I was a fan of the team since my childhood, so this was a huge privilege.
In 2004, I set up and ran MP & Silva, a sports media rights company that now has 20 offices around the world. When I sold the majority of my shares in MP & Silva in 2016, the company was a world leader in TV rights distribution. In 2016, I established Silva International Investments, which manages and invests in assets across multiple sectors including media, sport, fashion, technology and real estate.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
Throughout my career I have been very fortunate to meet many great, interesting people from the world of sports and entertainment. There are endless stories, many of which I have forgotten. One that for me was funny and meaningful at the same time was when Florida International University decided to call its stadium Riccardo Silva Stadium. The first few times was a bit funny going to a stadium named after you, at the same time it’s a huge pride and honor having received this kind of recognition from such a prestigious institution, it’s a great feeling and I’m very grateful for that.
Are you working on any meaningful nonprofit projects? How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I’m involved with a number of charities and projects in Europe, Africa and the U.S., particularly in South Florida. I strongly believe in giving back to the community and doing our part help. Some of the organizations I’m involved with include Play for Change, amfAR, Mount Sinai Medical Center and the New World Symphony, to name a few. I align myself with charities that work with causes that are important to me. However, I don’t believe that its only charities and non-profits that bring goodness to the world — I think businesses can do that too. I’m proud that MP & Silva employed over 100 people in 20 different offices around the world. By doing that we created many great experiences and opportunities for a lot of staff, as well as their families, and this was our way of bringing goodness to the world.
Can you tell me a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?
This may sound strange but someone who stands out for me is Andrea Radrizzani. He came to me in a junior role almost twenty years ago and worked his way up to become CEO, then a Shareholder and Board Member at MP & Silva. Andrea is now the owner of Leeds United Football Club and, although I can’t claim credit for his success, I’m happy that I have supported him along his journey.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
· An idea is only 20 percent of the work. 80 percent is in the execution. I learned this lesson quickly when setting up MP & Silva.
· You are only as good as the team around you. I have been very fortunate to be able to build fantastic teams of great people wherever I have worked.
· Achieving success is a gradual process and takes a great deal of patience and tenacity.
· Be brave and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. With MP & Silva, we challenged a status quo and created a business that became a disruptor to a market that had previously operated with very traditional methods.
· Constantly challenge yourself and think about how things could be done better. This for me is a vital ingredient when I work with Miami FC who are operating in a market that has huge potential.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, or I might be able to introduce you.
Eric Wynalda, who is currently campaigning to become the President of the United States Soccer Federation. I have a soccer team in the U.S. called The Miami FC which, in only its second year of playing, won both the Spring and Fall Seasons in 2017. Eric and I seem to share a similar vision for how to grow soccer in the U.S., and I would love the opportunity to sit down with him over a drink to discuss how we can unlock the massive potential of U.S. soccer.