Rocco B. Commisso

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Rocco Benito Commisso
Rocco B. Commisso.jpg
Commisso in 2007
Born (1949-11-25) 25 November 1949 (age 73)
NationalityItalian, American
Alma materColumbia University (BSc, MBA)
Occupation(s)Chairman and CEO of Mediacom
Known forFounder of Mediacom
Owner of the New York Cosmos
Owner of ACF Fiorentina
Board member ofNCTA
SpouseCatherine Commisso
AwardsEllis Island Medal of Honor

Rocco Benito Commisso[1][2] (Italian pronunciation: [ˈrɔkko komˈmisso];[3] born 25 November 1949) is an Italian-born American billionaire businessman, and the founder, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Mediacom, the fifth largest cable television company in the US. As of 2011, the company is privately owned by Commisso. He previously worked for companies including Cablevision, the Royal Bank of Canada, and Chase Manhattan Bank. Since 2017, Commisso has been the owner and chairman of the New York Cosmos, and since June 2019, the owner of the Italian football club ACF Fiorentina.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Calabria, Italy, Commisso migrated to the United States at age 12.[4] Commisso attended Mount Saint Michael Academy high school in the Bronx[5] and attended Columbia University on a full undergraduate scholarship where he earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering in 1971 from its School of Engineering and Applied Science. He earned an MBA in 1975 from Columbia Business School.[6] He was co-captain of Columbia's varsity football (soccer) team;[7] elected president of the business school student body; and received the business school service award.[8]


Commisso began his business career at Pfizer Inc. After returning to Columbia and graduating from business school, he spent ten years in the financial industry, initially at Chase Manhattan Bank (now J.P. Morgan Chase). In 1978, he began working with cable companies and other entertainment enterprises as a part of Chase's corporate financing department.[9] He later worked at Royal Bank of Canada, where he led the bank's U.S. lending activities to the media and communications sectors. From 1986 to 1995, he was Executive Vice President, chief financial officer, and Director of Cablevision Industries Corporation. During this time, Cablevision Industries grew from the 25th to the 8th largest cable company in the United States, with around 1.3 million customers at the time of its merger with Time Warner.[10]

Commisso has been the chairman and CEO of Mediacom Communications Corporation since he founded the company in 1995 out of his basement. Initially, Mediacom acquired cable systems in underserved smaller American communities. Commisso took Mediacom public in 2000[11] after which time it grew to become the 8th largest cable operator in the United States with annual revenues of over $1.6 billion. In March 2011, the company then went private and wholly-owned by Commisso.[11] Since that time Mediacom was named the best cable company in the US in 2016[12] and in 2009 by CableFAX magazine.[13]

Commisso serves on the board of directors of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association,[14] C-SPAN[15] and Cable Television Laboratories, Inc.[16] He is also a member of the Cable TV Pioneers.[17]


Columbia University Lions[edit]

Commisso played soccer for the Columbia University Lions in the 1967–1970 period. He is a three time All-Ivy League Honouree.[18] In 1967, Commisso was a member of a freshman squad that finished with an undefeated record of 8-0. Commisso served as co-captain of the 1970 team that went 9-4-0 and made Columbia’s first ever appearance in the NCAA men's soccer tournament.[19] Throughout his college soccer career, Commisso was cited numerous times for his skill and leadership[20][21][22][23][24] culminating in an invitation to try out for the US team for the 1972 Summer Olympics.[25]

Since his time as a student, Commisso has been a contributor to Columbia men's soccer program. From 1978 to 1986, he was Chairman of Friends of Columbia Soccer. Presently, Columbia awards an Annual Men's Soccer Prize in his name.[26] On 12 October 2013, Columbia University named its soccer venue at the school’s Baker Athletics Complex as the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium.[27] In 2015, he was named a NYC Soccer Gala Honouree.[28] Commisso was inducted into the 2016 Columbia University Athletics Hall of Fame Special Category.[29]

New York Cosmos[edit]

In January 2017, Commisso purchased a majority ownership stake in the New York Cosmos soccer club and became the club's new chairman.[30] As the owner, he has moved the team's games to MCU Park in Coney Island.[31] At the time, both the team and its league (the North American Soccer League) were struggling financially, and the move was seen as a sign of support for both.[32] At the time, several of the other bids for the team were to shut down the franchise in order to prevent it from remaining a competitive threat in the league.[33]

ACF Fiorentina[edit]

On June 6, 2019, the purchase of ACF Fiorentina by Commisso was formalized giving him recognition for field development.[34] The purchase was finalized on June 24, 2019.[35] It is believed that Commisso bought Fiorentina for somewhere between $150–200 million.

Commisso is planning to grow Fiorentina's brand in the US market. The club's first venture will see it play in the preseason tournament, the International Champions Cup 2019.[36]

In the spring of 2020, Commisso led a GoFundMe campaign, Forza e Cuore, to raise over $1 million (€872,000) for hospitals in Florence during the Coronavirus pandemic.[37]


In 2004, on the 250th anniversary of Columbia's founding, the school's newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, listed Commisso among Columbia's 250 greatest undergraduate alumni of all time.[38] The school of business also recognized him as a Select Distinguished Alumni.[39] Commisso is the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Southwest Connecticut/New York Hudson Valley region,[11] the Innovator Award for Business Strategy from Cablevision magazine,[40] and the National Italian American Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.[41] In 2007, he was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.[42] In 2008, he served as Co-Chair of the Cable Show staged in New Orleans.[43] In 2009, Commisso was presented with the Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership,[44] the cable industry’s highest honor. In 2010, he was welcomed into the SUNY New Paltz School of Business Hall of Fame and named Business Person of the Year.[45] In June 2011, Commisso was inducted into the Cable Center Hall of Fame.[46] In 2015, he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honour.[47] In 2018, Commisso was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.[48]

Personal life[edit]

Commisso is married to Catherine, they have two children, and live in Saddle River, New Jersey.[49][50] As of 2015, Catherine Commisso is head of corporate administration for Mediacom.[50]


  1. ^ "FIORENTINA WOMEN'S FOOTBALL CLUB SOCIETA' SPORTIVA DILETTANTISTICA A RESPONSABILITA' LIMITATA". (in Italian). Italian National Olympic Committee. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  2. ^ Mongatti, Donato (May 6, 2020). "IL NUOVO ASSETTO SOCIETARIO. Bilancio Fiorentina 2019: aumentano i costi, Mediacom porta in cassa 10 milioni". (in Italian). Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  3. ^ Papini, Roberto Davide (7 June 2019). "Fiorentina, Commisso conquista Firenze: "Chiamatemi Rocco". Oggi con i tifosi allo stadio". La Nazione (in Italian). Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  4. ^ Vazquez, Luis (11 January 2017). "Thanks Rocco: The New York Cosmos are back for 2017 - Elite Sports NY".
  5. ^ Straus, Brian (31 March 2017). "New York Cosmos were a fax away from destruction".
  6. ^ "Commisso honored at first annual American Dream Scholarship ceremony - News 12 Varsity".
  7. ^ "Commisso takes over Cosmos, who likely will play within NYC - Metro News".
  8. ^ "A SAVIOR Columbia alumnus, cable company magnate Commisso negotiates to buy Cosmos to save NASL".
  9. ^ "Rocco B. Commisso". The Wall Street Journal. 10 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Hall of Fame Inductees 2010 - SUNY New Paltz".
  11. ^ a b c "Overview". Mediacom Communications Corporation.
  12. ^ "Top Ops 2016". Cablefax.
  13. ^ "CableFAX Daily Stockwatch | Archives". Cablefax. July 22, 2009.
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  18. ^ "Columbia Soccer All-Ivy League Honoree".
  19. ^ "Men's Soccer All-Time Results". Columbia University Athletics. 10 June 2010.
  20. ^ "Tight Ivy League Soccer Race Possible, Crimson Will Meet Columbia Saturday | News | The Harvard Crimson".
  21. ^ "Against Strong Lion Team Booters Defend Ivy Title | News | The Harvard Crimson".
  22. ^ "Winless Dartmouth Upends Brown To Tighten Ivy Soccer Standings | News | The Harvard Crimson".
  23. ^ "Brown Presents Main Obstacle Booters Retain Ivy Soccer Lead | News | The Harvard Crimson".
  24. ^ "Crimson Favored to Win Title Penn, Cornell Are Top Contenders | News | The Harvard Crimson".
  25. ^ "New York Cosmos Announce New Majority Owner". 10 January 2017.
  26. ^ "89th Annual Varsity C Celebration Honors Columbia's Student-Athletes". Columbia University Athletics. 4 May 2010.
  27. ^ "Columbia to Dedicate Soccer Stadium in Honor of Rocco B. Commisso". Columbia University Athletics. 4 October 2013.
  28. ^ "NYC Soccer Gala :: New York, NY".
  29. ^ "Columbia Athletics Inducts Hall of Fame Class of 2016". Columbia University Athletics. 20 October 2016.
  30. ^ "Commisso takes over Cosmos, who likely will play within NYC". The Washington Times.
  31. ^ "What a Kick! Pro Soccer Lands in Brooklyn, With Attitude - The Bridge". 31 March 2017. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  32. ^ Jack Bell (4 April 2017). "Rocco's Ramblings: Cosmos' New Owner Speaks Out". Empire of Soccer.
  33. ^ Bob Williams (20 February 2017). "How Rocco Commisso saved New York Cosmos from being 'shut down'". The Telegraph.
  34. ^ "L'imprenditore italo-americano Rocco B. Commisso acquista la ACF Fiorentina" (in Italian). Milan: ViolaChannel. 6 June 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  35. ^ Beresford, Chloe. "Why Rocco Commisso And Fiorentina Are A Perfect Match". Forbes.
  36. ^ "American billionaire Commisso buys Fiorentina – ProSoccerTalk". 6 June 2019.
  37. ^ Pagones, Stephanie (2020-04-02). "Mediacom's Rocco Commisso leading Italian coronavirus relief effort". FOXBusiness. Retrieved 2021-01-07.
  38. ^ "The 250 Greatest Columbia Alumni: 240-231". Columbia Daily Spectator.
  39. ^ "The Columbia Business School 2012 Employment Report". Archived from the original on 2012-04-19.
  40. ^ "HOME - VIDEOS - COVID". April 23, 2020.
  41. ^ "NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award". Archived from the original on 2013-09-28.
  42. ^ Hemingway, Jonathan (18 October 2007). "Rocco Commisso". Broadcasting & Cable.
  43. ^ "CableFAX: 28. Comeback Kid: Rocco Commisso | Archives". Cablefax. December 1, 2008.
  44. ^ "2017 Reasons to Attend Intro". INTX - The Internet & Television Expo.
  45. ^ "SUNY New Paltz School of Business Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20.
  46. ^ "Cable Hall of Fame".
  47. ^ "Medalists Database".
  48. ^ "Rocco B. Commisso – National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2021-01-07.
  49. ^ "Forbes profile: Rocco Commisso". Forbes. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  50. ^ a b "Q&A: Two Years Later - Mediacom". Retrieved 22 June 2018.