Who owns the Giro d’Italia? If you’re about to say RCS, don’t because you’d be wrong. RCS are the organisers of the race but they don’t own it. Could it be Urbano Cairo, the man who controls RCS today? No, it’s not him either…
RCS is RCS MediaGroup SpA, an Italy company from Milan which takes its initials from the merger of publishing house Rizzoli with the Corriere della Sera newspaper. In 1976 it took over the Gazzetta Dello Sport newspaper and with this came the Giro d’Italia, La Gazzetta having created the Giro to begin with. RCS Media shares are on the Italian stock exchange so you can buy yourself a slice of the company that runs the Giro.
In 2016 Italian media tycoon Urbano Cairo bought a big slice, he took control of the RCS and today owns approximately 60% of the shares in RCS. But neither RCS nor Cairo owns the Giro.
So who does? Look closely at the pink pages of La Gazzetta and each day’s edition includes a small legal box with the paper’s contact details, subscription prices, the name of the editor, size of the print run and among the small print is also the line “testata di proprieta A Bonacossa” which identifies the owner: a certain A Bonacossa. This is the Countess Alberta Bonacossa. In 1929 Albert Bonacossa acquired a majority stake in La Gazzetta and was a publisher and a patron of the sports, particularly tennis, winter sports and motoring. In 1976 RCS’s deal to buy La Gazzetta Dello Sport didn’t actually include owning the newspaper, instead it was a deal to rent and publish it and the Bonacossa family to this day owns the title to the newspaper. Similarly Countess Bonacossa is the real owner of the Giro d’Italia.
The Countess can be seen at the Giro sometimes when it arrives in Milan. That’s her on the right of the image. But this is going to be a short blog post because there’s not much more to add. John Foot’s excellent Pedalare! book on the history of Italian cycling has no mention. Her family is quite private and so the business deal even more. But now you know who owns the Giro d’Italia.