Italy’s premier professional football league, Lega Serie A, today inaugurated its first Middle East and North Africa (MENA) office in Abu Dhabi at a media event that also saw the launch of the brand's strategic vision and plans for the region.The event was hosted by Lega Serie A’s Michele Ciccarese, Commercial and Marketing Director, Anna Guarnerio, International Media Rights Director, Alfonso De Stefano, Managing Director MENA and Omar Al Hakim, Head of Brand Partnerships MENA.The latest international expansion for the Italian league will enable Lega Serie A to broaden its influence across the MENA region, with an emphasis on the GCC and North Africa. The new MENA office – which is located in Yas Creative Hub on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi – will provide a regional base for the league to increase its fan base in the region by building connections with the 53% of the MENA population who have an interest in football. The Italian league aims to do this with a strategic plan and roadmap that will unlock opportunities for collaboration with local and regional partners; raise the profile of the league’s iconic clubs, such as Juventus, AC Milan, Fc Inter, As Roma, Ssc Napoli and Lazio; and better engage with the region’s Calcio fans through increased investment in grassroots talent, new charitable activities in regional markets, and bespoke content and content partnerships designed for Millennial and Gen Z audiences. "We are very pleased to continue our global expansion project of the 'Calcio’ product and to face new challenges that represent fundamental steps towards the internationalisation of Italian football," Luigi De Siervo, CEO of Lega Serie A, stated. "With our presence and the opening of the new office, our goal is to be closer to fans and longtime supporters in a strategic market like the Middle East. At the same time, we aim to promote a healthy education of the new generations in the values of sports, involving them both on and off the field through projects with digital experiences. Additionally, we are developing entertainment initiatives for fans by localising events of Lega Serie A that will feature the presence of teams, players, and legends. Thanks to our broadcasters and regional partners, Abu Dhabi Media and Starzplay, we will bring football close to the fans for a unique and immersive experience. We are convinced – De Siervo concluded – that through the spread of our product in these areas, many young talents from the Middle East will have the opportunity to regularly play in Serie A."Commenting on the announcement, Alfonso De Stefano, Managing Director MENA of Lega Serie A, said: “The MENA region is a crucial market for us, with a deep passion for football and a growing interest in the Italian game. There are already an estimated 16 million Lega Serie A fans in the region – half of them under the age of 25 – and connecting with this fan base and with the wider audience of football lovers in the region is our top priority. Our new headquarters strengthens our regional presence, giving us direct access to fans, and opening doors to a range of future collaborations with key stakeholders in our sport and beyond.”At the office opening, Lega Serie A also underscored its commitment to establishing grassroots initiatives to encourage and develop local talent, passion and skill in partnership with regional football associations and training academies.Omar Al Hakim, Head of Brand Partnerships MENA of Lega Serie A, said: “Our mission here is not only to promote Lega Serie A, but also to be a catalyst for football development in the MENA region. We are looking to establish relationships and forge partnerships with organisations who share our values to nurture local talent and promote the appreciation for the sport throughout the region.”To build engagement with football fans, particularly its Gen Z audiences, Lega Serie A recently launched a bilingual English and Arabia Snapchat account to host regionally relevant content – the first such account from a global football league with Arabic content for MENA audiences. The league also confirmed that it will announce a number of new initiatives and content partnerships in the coming months.In 2022, Lega Serie A signed a broadcasting partnership with Abu Dhabi Media and Starzplay, which are now exclusively streaming the league’s matches to audiences across 20 countries in the MENA region.