Insight: A look at the men and matrix behind the evolution of brand Juventus
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
From the shadows of the match-fixing scandal to the undisputed kings of Serie A it has been an incredible turnaround for the Old Lady.
In 2010, Juventus were in the midst of a really rough phase with the morale of both club staff and supporters being at an all-time low. They had finished seventh in Serie A and were in dire straights as a club. Not only did they have a very average team, but "big names" didn't even want to join them thanks to the Calciopoli scandal which absolutely ravaged their reputation. It was in this time of distress that Andrea Agnelli was appointed as the President of the club to try and turn things around for them.
Agnelli is the son of Umberto Agnelli, a famous Italian industrialist who also did some revolutionary work managing the club. Andrea almost immediately found criticism from fans blaming him for Juventus' shocking situation and underwhelming performances in the Serie A and Europe. But, rather than trying to hog the spotlight like many other Italian football club Presidents, Agnelli started to do his work discreetly and made sure to surround himself with some very clever minds in Italian Football.
One of the first things Agnelli did was to appoint Guiseppe Marotta as the Sporting Director and Luigi Delneri as the new manager. While the latter did not work so well, the former turned out to be a masterstroke as 'Beppe' Marotta started a complete overhaul in the club.
Not only did Marotta and Agnelli later sign Antonio Conte as manager, but Beppe was also responsible for the transfer activity at the club. It was under his guidance that Juventus made some incredible deals over the next few seasons, including getting the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba and Sami Khedira for free and Carlos Tevez, Arturo Vidal, Leonardo Bonnucci and many others for cut-prices.
simply Giuseppe Marotta. pic.twitter.com/kShQUkMv2d— Tarek Khatib (@ADP1113) March 25, 2017
Juventus have a knack for intelligent transfers
Marotta's fantastic negotiating abilities and talent to persuade other players to sign for Juventus on the cheap not only helped them add top talent, but also eased the pressure on their financial resources. It was thanks to this overhaul of the club and trust in Conte's tactics that Juventus won the Serie A for the first time in five years in 2012.
They also earned the tag of being 'invincibles' for not losing a single game in the whole season, proving how far they had come in a single season, having finished seventh in the Agnelli-Marrotta duo's first full campaign. After that, they're playing style has improved by stride as they've become THE dominant side in Italy, under the brilliance of the relentless Massimiliano Allegri.
Juventus' impeccable taste for signing quality players on the cheap has continued thanks to the incredible brain of Marotta and the sustained success has allowed their revenues to slowly go up as well. In the 2010-11 season, the Old Lady recorded an operating revenue of €154m and €95m in losses, after finishing seventh in Serie A. In comparison, the Bianconeri's turnover in 2017 was a whopping €550m with a profit of over €40m. Thus, they went from a club who were recording losses to now being placed #9 in the Forbes Most Valuable Soccer Teams list.
Juventus' steady financial growth over the years
Something else which made Juventus stand out from the rest of the Italian teams was the construction of their brand new Juventus Stadium (now named Allianz Stadium), which was one of the first things Agnelli did after becoming President. Not only did they have the luxury of being in an elite league of teams having their own football stadium in Italy, but this brand new, stunning arena exponentially increased their average attendance as well.
For example, the average attendance of the Bianconeri in 2011 (before moving into the new stadium) was around 22,958. But, in their first season at the Juventus Stadium, they recorded an average attendance of 37,570. This increase of almost 15,000 fans not only benefitted the club's image, but it also impacted them from a financial standpoint and the revenue from their home games led to major profits because of it.
The average attendance has been increasing over the years because of Juventus' unbridled success and the arrival of attractive stars as well. The beautiful, state-of-the-art infrastructure has a charm because of its lights, seating and hospitality, which has made the fans want to come back for more with each passing season.
The Juventus Stadium is one of the most glittering arenas in Europe
Another impressive individual who was roped in by Agnelli and Marotta was Juventus legend Pavel Nedved, who became a director at the club in 2010. After spending nine years with the Bianconeri and sticking with them through their ups and downs, Nedved knew the ins and outs of the club and was someone who could represent them as top management. Nedved was promoted to become the vice-chairman of the Board of Directors a few years ago and has helped the club grow not only as a brand, but also had an influence on their smooth progression and helped them retain their style over the years.
Another aspect which the top management changed about Juventus is the logo, which got a redesign last year, much to the dismay of many. This controversial decision (for which Juve paid the creators almost €200k) has proved to be a boon, with Juve's image getting boosted and more modern football fans gaining interest in the club. Another venture which helped gain mainstream attention is the latest Netflix series 'First Team: Juventus' which allows the fans an in-depth, emotional look at the inner proceedings of the club, its players and their emotions during matchdays.
These small changes and improvisations have also helped grow Juventus' stock in the financial market. This has allowed the Bianconeri to make "big signings" over the years as they signed Gonzalo Higuain for €90m, while Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala signed for around €32m each. Bu,t Marotta has always been criticized for some of these signings, given his unique stance of paying for their signature in parts.
This meant that Juventus would pay the other clubs some money every year and basically pay for the signing of the big names in instalments. But, this had it's own success rate, allowing the Old Lady to properly earn the profits of signing such big names and making sure they didn't lose financially in the process.
Catching up with his new teammates
It's the steady financial growth of the club and the improvement of the Juventus brand which has not only impressed critics, but even made Cristiano Ronaldo fall in love with the idea of playing for the club. At first, the rumours about Ronaldo moving to Turin seemed like a move from the Portuguese to earn a better deal at Madrid and were ignored by many. But then, it started picking up steam with the amazing Marotta working with Jorge Mendes to thrash out the details, before Andrea Agnelli himself travelled to Greece (where Ronaldo was spending his holidays) to confirm the deal.
Nobody could have even imagined that a club like Juventus, who had the reputation of making clever, "bargain" deals would sign the best player in the world. But, it's their impressive growth as a state-of-the-art, modern club, which convinced the Portuguese to choose the Old Lady and Juventus can now start dreaming about winning the Champions League title, which has eluded them for many years.
Published: Tue Jul 17, 2018 06:51 PM IST