“Football is like a religion” – Five questions with… Marco Foroni

Serie A may have had the same domestic champion for the last seven years, but Italian football is going through a significant period of change at the moment. One of those changes is the arrival of DAZN. This summer we announced a new deal that sees us become the first pure live and on-demand streaming service with Serie A rights in Italy.

Assembling the team to showcase Italy’s top flight is Marco Foroni. He’s DAZN’s new Head of Sports, Italy, and he’s been busy assembling a stellar line-up of talent to lead DAZN’s Italian football showcase this season. He has already hit the ground running, with news that DAZN presenter Diletta Leotta will host a new Saturday night show tackling issues of the day, with many more announcements to come.

Fresh from hosting a star-studded event in Milan last week, where DAZN announced its switch-on in Italy with a multi-sport offering for Italian fans, Marco took the time to answer some of our questions about his nation’s football obsession and what impact the arrival of DAZN is likely to have for Italian sports fans.

What does football mean to you?

“I’m a football addict. While I appreciate all sports, football is my first love. I started watching matches from the stands at a young age and then saw my passion for the game grow as I embarked on a career as a sports journalist. My first role in journalism saw me covering both Milan teams for radio, print and television. I then began working as a play-by-play commentator for Italian television.”

What makes the Serie A special?

“Italian football fans are what makes Serie A special. When it comes to Italy, the most important sporting event is the Serie A season. Second and third place are also Serie A. Only after that do you have motorsport and cycling.

“Football is a 24-hour discussion here. If you could create software that listens into and summarises all conversations in Italy, you will find that Serie A is the most frequently discussed topic in the entire country. Football is like a religion and it is this passion that makes Serie A truly special.”

How has Italy reacted to the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo?

“There are two sides to this reaction. Of course, all Juventus fans are excited about the signing of Ronaldo. However, all other Serie A fans are terrified about what this could mean for their team’s chances! I would say though that the fans that are terrified are also aware of the silver lining as Ronaldo’s signing will be extremely powerful for the league.

“In the 80s and 90s, Serie A attracted star players from all over the world. In the last 10 years, however, the Premier League and La Liga have surpassed our beloved domestic league. Serie A is back on track with one of the best players in the world committing himself to our champions. Our hope as fans is that Ronaldo can attract more star players to our shores, and our hope as DAZN is that we will have the opportunity to broadcast the resurgence of domestic Italian football to the world.”

What are your predictions for this season?

“Juventus has won the last seven Serie A titles in a row. They now have Ronaldo as well and as a result are clearly favourites. I see three other teams mounting a challenge: Inter Milan – probably the closest team player-for-player to Juventus, Napoli – having just brought back Carlo Ancelotti – this time in a manager role – could be due a period of success, and finally Roma – Champions League semi-finalists in 2018 and a team that has done notably well in this summer’s transfer window. AC Milan will come back in style too after being able to secure Higuain: he has always been a goal scorer machine and that exactly what they missed in last season.

“On a European level, Juventus have lost two Champions League finals in the last four years. Their primary goal will be to win that competition. I know that I certainly wouldn’t bet against them now!”

What does DAZNs arrival mean for football fans in Italy?  

“DAZN will go live this summer with a full multi-sport offering for €9.99 a month and no long-term contract. The platform is fresh, new and will change the way Italian’s watch football forever.

“I’m not exaggerating when I say that DAZN is a game changer for the Italian market. The platform will play host to 114 Serie A matches and all 462 Serie B matches next season. This is hugely significant for Italian fans that have been consuming their football content via traditional broadcast vehicles for decades. I do believe that the impact of DAZN will be positive for all Italian sports fans as they see the true benefit of non-linear programming and flexible contracts.”