International Media & Soccer Mogul
By Joshua Tomey
Riccardo Silva smiles as he leans back into a couch on the second floor lounge of Cavalli Miami. This latest venture with friend and fellow Italian, Roberto Cavalli, is a fashionably eclectic restaurant right in the pulse of vibrant Miami Beach, which seems as much a nod to Cavalli’s famed designs as it is to Silva’s zealous yet soft-spoken approach to creating wealth and value. “Business is going well.”
Nothing could be truer for 44-year-old Silva, President and major shareholder of MP & Silva, the international leader in television rights distribution with a focus on sports throughout Europe and Asia. Highlights of Silva’s circulations include soccer’s FIFA World Cup, the English Premier League, his native Italian Series A and the NBA, among numerous other associations and events.
The Proverbial Silver Spoon
Silva comes from a long lineage of successful business enterprises. His family is one of the most prominent historic families in the Italian chemicals industry. While Silva has a stake in two well-heeled and well-reviewed London establishments, Cavalli Miami is his first eatery in South Florida, now home to him, his wife Tatiana and two young sons.
“I was lucky,” Silva muses about his privileged upbringing. Born to parents with expansive holdings in chemical production and publishing, he enjoys both the challenges and freedoms of working from a place of principle. “The business I built, especially the television rights business, didn’t come for the purpose of money. I ask myself why? And I think for the passion to do something valuable.”
But Silva’s practical modesty belies the constant undercurrent of his love for soccer and its persistent theme in his life. Whether by coincidence or not, it’s an exciting time for a business mogul and fan of the beautiful game to be in Miami.“I think Miami soccer has a much bigger potential,” he notes in reference to the city’s proposed professional soccer team, tentatively scheduled to join Major League Soccer (MLS) pending negotiations over stadium financing and location. “A football club is something I’m following.”
The prospective owners of Miami’s future MLS team is led by famed footballer David Beckham and his business partner Simon Fuller. But despite the celebrity status of the would-be franchise holders, Silva thinks they, and the possible team, should think bigger.
“I think the big step up should be either playing Copa Libertadores (among the most significant soccer tournaments in the world and the most admired club competition in South America) or the dream would be playing in the
European Champions League,” Silva elaborates. “This could really be the turn for American soccer, playing top teams
in the world from Brazil, Argentina, England, Italy, Spain.”
Making Miami Home
However unclear the future of the Miami franchise, Silva doesn’t hesitate to expound on the virtues of his newly adopted home. “My two favorite cities have always been New York and Rio de Janeiro,” he says.
“I came (to Miami) and here was the perfect combination of them.”
Silva is finishing his new home at the Penthouse of the Continuum South Tower, a $25 million Chad Oppenheim designed condominium complete with a rooftop infinity pool and views of South Beach and the new Cavalli Miami below.
“For me the most important thing is something to be proud of,” he said of the restaurant. “The balance sheets, in the end, are not the most important thing.”