De Laurentiis sees double


Aurelio De Laurentiis is mulling a plan that would combine his two most visible professional interests: moviemaking and soccer.

The Neapolitan daily Il Mattino reported Monday that De Laurentiis is planning the construction of a new 65,000-seat soccer stadium to house his SSC Napoli soccer club. The stadium will include a film studio and the offices of Filmauro, the production company he owns.

The report was confirmed by an SSC Napoli spokesman, who added that the project would take about five years to complete. Filmauro declined comment.

De Laurentiis is not the only media tycoon involved in Italian soccer. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi controls both broadcaster Mediaset and the club AC Milan.

Famed producer Mario Cecchi Gori owned a film production company that carried his name and the Fiorentina soccer club, though son Vittorio gave up control of the soccer team a decade after his father's death in 1993.

The Agnelli family that controls carmaker Fiat also controls the club Juventus and has media-related holdings.

This year, De Laurentiis made Napoli the first club is Serie A — Italy's top soccer league — to forgo traditional or satellite television coverage, opting to broadcast games over the Internet. Other teams reportedly are considering similar moves.

De Laurentiis, the nephew of famed producer Dino De Laurentiis, has produced more than two dozens films, including some of the most successful Italian-made films in recent years, such as 2005's "Christmas in Miami" and "Love Manual" and last year's hits "Christmas in New York" and "My Best Enemy" — all among the 10 top-grossing films in Italy the year of their release.