Boston Celtics’ co-owner Stephen Pagliuca, who acquired a majority stake in Atalanta in February, sees similarities between the NBA team and La Dea and explains why he invested in the Serie A team.
Atalanta announced an agreement to sell the 55% stake in the club less than a month ago. On paper, it was announced as a partnership between the Percassi family and a group of investors led by Stephen Pagliuca, Managing Partner and Co-owner of the NBA team the Boston Celtics and Co-Chairman of Bain Capital, one of the leading investment funds in the world.
Antonio Percassi and Pagliuca spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport to explain their plans for the club’s future and how they got to know each other.
“I saw in Pagliuca the same passion that I have,” said Percasssi. “It was an act of love towards Atalanta and their fans.
“He has also practised sports and had success managing the Boston Celtics. The strong bond between the city of Bergamo and Atalanta and the team’s results are the reasons behind his desire to invest in Atalanta.”
“I’ve been thinking about investing in a Serie A team for many years,” added Pagliuca.
“I met Percassi through Luca Bassi, one of my partners at Bain Capital, five or six months ago. We came to Bergamo for Atalanta-Manchester United. We had dinner with them and immediately realized we had the same passion and vision of sport.
“The Atalanta model is winning because it has a strong base and a sports culture. We know that we are the custodians of the team, which belongs to the fans as to ownership. We were looking for this and from that evening we started talking.
“My family came to America in the 20s from a small mountain village in Basilicata, Muro Lucano. Bergano also has a strong bond with mountains, so I’ll feel at home. Joking apart, the Celtics are linked to Boston in the same way that Bergamo are linked to Atalanta.
“We know how important the geographic area is and we are aware that the support of fans is part of the team’s success. That’s an honour to us. I had a similar feeling when we bought the Celtics in 2003. The club is almost like a religion in town and I noticed it as soon as I stepped inside the Gewiss Stadium. It was the same as the Boston Garden or the Fenway Park. The same feeling of affection and love in a stadium of 24,000 seats, with fans who have been supporting the team for 40-50 years.
“It’s special when you enter the stadium because the whole city is with you. Now I’ll need to work on my voice and my Italian.
“I’ll come to Bergamo as frequently as I can, I hope, in the next two weeks or April,” he continued.
“The city is fantastic. I’ll always be close to the team and the managerial team, the model at Celtic has always been based on the management’s stability.
“The Percassi are amazing leaders, so the project won’t change much. Things must keep going as they’ve done so far. So we must build a winning team, develop talents and the youth sector. We can help the Atalanta brand to grow worldwide, broadening the fan base.”
Percassi e Pagliuca: "Così faremo un'Atalanta più forte. La Dea come i Celtics" https://t.co/kZC9GmS8V8
— La Gazzetta dello Sport (@Gazzetta_it) March 2, 2022