Andrea Agnelli recently hailed his record breaking Juventus, a club that achieved €387.9m revenue in the financial year that ended on June 30 2016. Reporting a €4.1m in operating profit which represents €1.8m more than the previous period, the Italian champions are slowly succeeding in their attempts to match the major European sides.
“The core business of this club is and will always be football. Our tradition is victory, our vocation is economic and financial sustainability in a complex sector,” explained Agnelli. Winning trophies on the pitch while remaining economically sustainable has always been Juve’s mission. To have achieved that considering the dire state of affairs post-Calciopoli is a feat that must be admired.
When it comes to building a sporting project, no team has done as well as the Bianconeri. They haven’t only gone back to leading the way in Serie A, as they have done these past five years, but they are now considered as one of the favourites to win Europe’s most prestigious trophy, the Champions League.
A side built with bargain buys on the transfer market while simultaneously investing in a stadium and club infrastructure make the club an example to follow. Players such as Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal and Andrea Barzagli were all brought in for free or a minor sum to help obtain success as others laughed. Barzagli and Pirlo’s careers were deemed over, critics noted that Juve bought the wrong centre-back from Bari when Andrea Ranocchia was the youngster to watch, while Alvaro Morata was the unwanted forward wasting away at Real Madrid.
Fast forward a few years and Juve were contesting the Champions League Final with Barcelona in 2015, collecting €100m from their participation in the competition. Rich and admired, the Old Lady has managed her finances so well that she is no longer required to sell her player assets, while money could be spent to break records and bring in great talent, such as that of Gonzalo Higuain. Juventus are back to what they were.
However, what makes the Italian Champions such a respectable club is how devoted they are to the attainment of sporting success. Renowned for their scouting network and ability to identify the next great player, they unearthed the likes of Kingsley Coman and developed Pogba and Morata into world class players. This only serves to highlight the club’s devotion to its legacy -- that of a club that builds.
Yet questions have been asked as to whether or not such dedication to sporting achievements has perhaps harmed the club’s ability to profit. This isn’t a club run like a business in the same way Real Madrid or Manchester United are, but one that values traditional ideals.
Manchester United announced their 70th or so lucrative sponsorship deal this year, demonstrating how those European clubs raking in the cash are prioritising their strategic business partnerships as well as the arduous money-making tours to various corners of the earth to gain more fans. That perhaps explains why Juventus are still far behind what the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich have managed to achieve in commercial revenue.
According to the Deloitte money league rankings, Juventus made €73.5m from commercial revenue in 2015, meaning that the club is still dependent on the money it receives from TV. The globalisation of the brand should be a priority for the Turin giants who are bound to struggle to match revenues of clubs who belong to bigger and more exciting leagues.
Yet more effort should be made when one considers Bayern Munich, a club that belongs to an equally uncompetitive league, has pulled in €278.1m in commercial revenue. The difference between the two sums becomes even starker when we consider that according to Repucom’s rankings, Juve has the fifth largest fan base in Europe.
The Bavarian giants’ commercial revenues increased by 83% from 2009 to 2014 largely due to astute deals with Audi, Deutsche Telekom and Allianz. According to Swiss Ramble, the club do benefit from ‘being the most supported team in the largest commercial market in Europe’ but it certainly puts things into perspective with regards to how Juve have handled business partnerships.
The Italians struggle to shift merchandise and while there is global interest in the club, more effort must be made in appealing to foreign fans. Simple things such as buying a player from Asia or purchasing stars with a bigger brand will help strengthen their reputation. Investing in the likes of Marko Pjaca and Daniele Rugani demonstrates intelligent planning for the future, but it does little in attracting more interest from those in China and the US, countries who boast fans willing to spend to show their support for the club.
Should we start to worry? Not if Agnelli and Co’s plans come to fruition. According to reports released earlier this year, Juventus intend to open a chain of hotels and restaurants around the world to ensure the globalisation of the brand, offering customers and potential fans the opportunity to dine at the J-restaurant or stay overnight at the J-hotel.
Such a project would make Juve the first football multinational company which, in theory, should help increase revenues to match or even exceed those of clubs such as Real Madrid.
First we must await the opening of J Village to understand the club’s next step forward, but the feeling is Juventus will not sit and watch their competitors rise to the top of the sport without providing a genuine business challenge.
This evening Udinese visit the Juventus Stadium, one of only three club-owned arenas in the Italian top flight. Readers betting on this game should look at these betting offers for any specials available.