As Italy’s richest club, and amongst the top 10 of the wealthiest football clubs in the world, it’s unsurprising that Juventus’ sponsorship arrangements include deals with some of the most prestigious brands on the planet. And that these deals net the Old Lady a lot of money.
For instance, Juventus currently has a kit deal with Adidas that lasts until 2022 and which is worth £20 million to the Club. Interestingly, although this is the most lucrative such arrangement in Serie A (ahead of AC Milan’s deal, also with Adidas, which netted them £19 million), it does somewhat pale into insignificance when compared to Barcelona’s new kit sponsorship deal with Nike, which will earn them £100 million between next season and 2022.
Juve’s major shirt sponsor, Jeep, also makes a significant contribution to the Turin club’s coffers. The Jeep logo first appeared on the famous black and white stripes during the 2012-13 season, when they signed a €35 million deal that was originally scheduled to run for three years. The arrangement has clearly worked to everyone’s satisfaction, as it was renewed in 2014 at an increased value, with Jeep now paying Juve around €17 million each year for pride of place on the front of the home and away kits, at least until the deal expires at the end of the 2021/22 season.
However, in a bid to make the most of every asset the Club has, Jeep doesn’t have rights over the whole of the Juventus shirt. From the start of this season until at least 2019/20, the Japanese video game producer Cygames is the sponsor of the back of the kit in all domestic fixtures, the first time Juventus has had such a commercial arrangement.
But Juve’s sponsorship and corporate deals extend far beyond its relationships with the brands whose logos are emblazoned across the kit. For instance, in July 2017 it signed a partnership deal with Betfair sportsbook and exchange, which has built its reputation on its market leading exchange and football betting markets. This makes Betfair Juventus’ Official Gaming and Betting Digital Partner, meaning you’ll see its branding inside Allianz Stadium, at the training center, on the website and on other club publications as well. Betfair is likewise entitled to use the Juventus name, logo and player images in its promotional and marketing material.
This new deal with Betfair is a classic example of the overall thinking and strategy behind Juve’s sponsorship deals. When you look at the list of the Club’s official partners, it has arrangements with major names from a wide variety of industries, which means that it’s hard to find any sector of society who won’t have some sort of engagement with a Juve sponsor. And that is the point.
A successful marketing and promotions strategy is naturally designed to benefit each party in the deal, and so when you look at who is in partnership with the Club, you can see brands of all types — telecommunications (TIM, Premium Mediaset, Sky), insurance (Allianz), electronics (Samsung, Philips), food and beverage (Balocco, M&Ms, Ganten Water, Noberasco), human resources (Randstad), banking (UBI Banca) and travel (Frecciarossa). These partnerships mean that the Juventus name, logo, image and colors are constantly in front of people from every age group, demographic and nationality, including those who have no interest in nor knowledge of football. And it is this constant and universal exposure that makes Juve the global sporting phenomenon it is today.
This worldwide exposure is also down to the fact that Juve has regional partners as well. These are foreign-based companies who sponsor the Club and who cater primarily for their own local markets. They include Asian betting companies like f66.com and vwin, brewers like Cervesa Tecate and Star, travel companies such as Costa, broadcasters such as Super Soccer TV, and financial institutions like International Bank of Azerbaijan. This means that the Juventus brand can penetrate into foreign markets that it might otherwise be difficult to reach.
So, what do the sponsors get out of it? As the deal with Betfair shows, a sponsor’s name and brand are displayed on the club’s official website, at the ground, and just about everywhere the name Juventus appears. It also means that sponsors can use the Juventus name, logo and images in their own promotional material, no matter where they are in the world. The black and white stripes are one of sport’s most iconic kits and recognized globally, and so being associated with such a successful sporting name gives both local and international companies real credibility as well as exposure.
In addition, with Juve’s current first team squad featuring players from over ten different countries both inside Europe and beyond, plus the fact that millions of people outside of Italy also follow the Club passionately, brands who partner Juve are guaranteed of international exposure on a level few other mediums can match. They can reach out to and engage with Juve’s fanatical and loyal supporter base directly, wherever they are located, and so get their names known to millions of people and gain reach that conventional advertising isn’t able to do.
And of course, there are shirt sales, one of the most profitable income streams for all of Europe’s major clubs. Juve consistently ranks in the top ten for shirt sales globally, shifting around 850,000 official replicas in 2016, which puts them seventh in the worldwide list (although some way behind leader Manchester United’s global sales of around 2,850,000 shirts annually).
However, shirt sales and the exposure they bring are only part of the reason why major sponsors are prepared to pay so much to appear on the front and back of Juve’s kit. It is also the fact that logos have come to be seen as an integral part of the shirt, and almost as important as the actual design and Club colours. This means that the Club and the sponsor become intertwined in supporters’ and the public’s minds, almost to the degree that partners are thought of as part of the team. This association is invaluable and gives sponsors status; they are seemed as winners in the same way that Juve are winners. This is why major brands view sponsoring a huge sporting icon like Juventus as being crucial to their global marketing and branding strategies.
Unsurprisingly, given the Club’s success both on and off the pitch, Juventus has always been amongst the most forward-thinking Clubs when it comes to sponsorship and commercial arrangements.
Since sponsors’ logos were first permitted on Serie A shirts in the 1986/87 season, Juve has been able to attract a range of major Italian and international brands who have been keen to benefit from a partnership with the Club. These include major appliance manufacturer Ariston, department store giant UPIM, world food company Danone, multinational electronics brand Sony, leading telecom company Fastweb, energy providers like Tamoil, broadcaster Sky Sports, and agricultural equipment manufacturers New Holland.
Although these companies are all very different, what they have in common is that they are brands who operate in international markets and so are able to reach out to potential customers globally through their association with Juventus.
Ultimately, successful sponsorship deals benefit both parties. Juventus naturally reaps great rewards from the cash injections sponsors provide, while the sponsors gain exposure and credibility through their alignment with the Club. We can therefore expect to see major brands like Adidas, Jeep, Cygames and Betfair continue to be a part of the Juventus story (and pay handsomely for the privilege), while lucrative sponsorship deals will remain one of the Club’s primary revenue streams and a way of ensuring that it retains its status as one of the most successful — and richest — football clubs in the world.