As any soccer fan knows, scoring opportunities come suddenly.
A lifelong soccer fan from Hermitage, Pennsylvania, Patrick Chovan didn’t hesitate when he got the chance to buy a stake in the Italian team.
Chovan, president of Omega Lumber in Wheatland, Pennsylvania, recently joined the ownership of the Campobasso 1919 team of the Italian soccer league. He’s in a happy state, though he’s still stunned by his luck.
“I am a big football fan, and I especially love the Italian football team.
It all started when Chovan contacted the operators of AmericaDomani.com, an Italian-American cultural website he enjoys. He wanted to know if the site was looking for contributors or investors.
“Then I learned that New York City’s North Six Group was behind it, and it intrigued me,” he said. “I knew about them because they invested in Italian football.”
After a few conversations, he got in touch with North Sixth Chairman Matt Rizzetta and told him about an investment opportunity in the Campobasso 1919 team.
“It was incredible,” Chovan said. “I’m a minority partner now.” The deal came just before Christmas.
North Sixth and Switzerland-based hedge fund Halley Holding are the majority owners, holding between 70% and 80% stake in the team. Chovan is one of his few minority owners, including TV star Kelly Ripa and actor Mark Consuelos. The couple acquired Campobasso in his December, becoming the latest trend for North American celebrities to invest in European football clubs.
The team is based in Campobasso, a city in the Molise region of southern Italy. Named after the year it was founded in 1919, it is often referred to by the team’s nicknames “Lupi” or “Wolves”.
They play at the 25,000-seat Nuovo Romagnoli Stadium and are known for their passionate fan base.
The team was in danger of folding in the offseason due to “administrative missteps,” according to a North Sixth Group news release. The New York-based operating company saved it with a last-minute swoop. The North Sixth Group is wholly-owned and minority-owned in the areas of media, marketing, technology, sports and entertainment.
joy to own
Like Chovan, North Six’s Lisetta was overjoyed to become a team owner.
“For me, my grandparents immigrated to the United States from near Campobasso, so this is a dream come true. [soccer] “It has always been an important connection in my immigration experience,” Lisetta said in a news release. can do.”
According to a Forbes article, Rizzetta puts the team’s valuation at $10 million.
Chovan traces his family heritage to the southern Italian city of Caserta, just 80km from Campobasso.
He also sees a connection with Campobasso and the Youngstown-Sharon area. Because both are industrious communities and economically marginalized. “They are underdogs,” said Chovan. “It’s like a rust belt.”
In Italy, as in all Europe, the main pride of every city is its football team, and Ciovan was happy to play a part in saving Campobasso 1919.
“The people who live there live and die with the team,” he said. Campobasso and the surrounding area are about the size of Youngstown. The city’s population is he 50,000 and the metropolitan area about 225,000.
Now that the team has gained a foothold, the next goal is to return to the top level of Italian football.
The Italian league has 9 levels, with at least 20 teams participating in each level. At the end of each season, the bottom 3 teams are “relegated” or demoted to the next lower level, and the top 3 teams are promoted.
Campobasso, who plays in Division E, finished the first half of the season in first place with a 14-0-1 record, said Choban. The team hopes to return to Division C, where they played last year. After it was bought and saved from disappearing, the team was forced to re-enter League E.
North Six Group also owns Division B team Ascoli. “It bodes well for us because we can move the players there and play friendly matches against them,” Chovan said.
Campobasso’s owner team hopes to expand its fan base to the United States, including in the Mahoning and Chenango valleys.
“We want our local bars to boost this and make it a community team,” says Chovan.
Many people with Italian heritage in the region can help support the effort.
“People have contacted me and said, ‘My family is from Molise,'” Chovan said. “That ancestral connection is cool and heartfelt. From a marketing perspective, it’s great.”
Chovan’s family roots are in the towns of Capodorise and Marcianise in the Italian province of Caserta, which borders Molise.
He has never been to Italy but plans to go this year and says he wants it to be an annual family trip.
Growing up in Hubbard, Ohio, Chovan played soccer all his life. When he was a child, his mother regularly visited his family in Italy and he kept in touch with his cousins by writing letters.
Chovan’s family business, Omega Lumber, was founded in 1976 by Chovan’s father. In 2014, Choban became president.
The timber producer has primary facilities and headquarters in Wheatland, Pennsylvania, with production facilities in Greenville, Harrisville, Clintonville, and New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.
The company is an industrial, not retail, sawmill with a niche in rail sleepers and pallets, Mr Chovan said.
Above: Patrick Chovan with his daughter Kathryn holding the Campobasso soccer team jersey. his wife, Kylie; and his daughter Pearl.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.