Juventus F.C. S.p.A History
Telephone: (39) 011-65631
Fax: (39) 011-66054550
Sales:$133 million (2000)
Stock Exchanges: Italian
Ticker Symbol: JUVE
NAIC: 711211 Sports Teams and Clubs
The Company plans to increase and diversify its revenue streams and to enhance its profitability, while making it less sensitive to sports performance, by pursuing strategies intended to reinforce its core business and to develop new side-operations in connection with the exploitation of sports events. More specifically, the Company is focused on the following, closely interconnected strategic goals: to maintain the Team up to its standard of excellence in order to score a number of victories or otherwise resounding results in both domestic and international football matches; to add value to Juventus's brand name with a view to establishing and improving its image as a testimonial in the eyes of the business community to develop further its own commercial operations, partly by expanding its supporter base in countries which have recently shown to be greatly interested in the "football world"; and to work out and implement income-diversification projects, with a special emphasis on less volatile and steadier sources of revenues, partly by investing in side-activities, along with, yet closely related to, its core business in the entertainment, leisure, and trade areas, then by ensuring increased visibility to the Team's weekday activities in addition to officially scheduled sports events.
- Students in Turin, Italy, organize Juventus F.C. under the presidency of Enrico Canfari.
- Juventus wins its first league championship.
- Edoardo Agnelli assumes financial and operational control of team.
- Edoardo Agnelli dies in an airplane accident.
- Juventus wins its first Italian Cup.
- The team wins its eighth league championship.
- Juventus wins Cup Winners and Super Cups.
- The team wins European and IC Cups.
- Juventus wins the UEFA Cup for the first time.
- The team wins the Italian championship and repeats this triumph in 1998.
- The team goes public.
One of the premier professional soccer clubs in the world, Juventus F.C. S.p.A., with its home field in the 71,000-seat Delle Alpi stadium in Turin, Italy, is one of the dominate teams in its league. Since its founding in 1897, it has garnered 25 Serie A league championships, more than any of its competitors. Also, in international competition, it has won three UEFA European Champions Cups. The club has fielded some of the best, world-class players in the sport, including, recently, Zinedine Zidane, who some consider the best of the best. The extremely popular team boasts a following throughout Europe of 17 million fans, with 11 million (over a third of the country's fans) in Italy alone. A private company until 2001, when it made its initial public offering (IPO), Juventus F.C. is still under the control of the Agnelli family, which has owned a majority share of the Juventus since 1923.
From Local Sports Club to National Competitor
In need of a change of pace, a group of young students took time out from their rigorous schooling at the Liceo D'Azeglio in Turin, to form Juventus F.C. as a sports club. The year was 1897. The young men were looking for some fun, and they banded together from a common interest in a relatively new craze: football (or soccer, as it is called in the United States), which, originating in Great Britain, was then quickly spreading throughout Europe. It was not until 1900 that the club fielded its first team, decked out pink shirts.
Initially, under the club's president Enrico Canfari, the fledgling team played against more experienced teams in the city before branching out and playing clubs in other cities. It soon became a highly competitive team, and in 1905, two years after adopting its familiar black and white colors, it won its first league championship. In that season, it had some tough contests against teams from Milan and Genoa, making it a very exciting time for the team and its fans.
Juventus first started playing at D'Armi Square, an arena still used for sporting events at the end of the 20th century. The team did well in its early history there, but, despite some of its achievements, through the first few years of the 20th century the club never achieved the success of such stronger competitors as Provercelli and Casale, not, at least, until the end of World War I.
After the armistice, Juventus began a rapid rise to some preeminence. A major reason for this development was the fact that it obtained the talents of a group of major players, notably the goalkeeper Giovanni Giacone and two full backs, Osvaldo Novo and Sesia Bruno, the first Juventus players to play on the national team. Also an important figure was the club's president, Corrado Corradini, a belletrist who both guided the team's fortunes and wrote its anthem.
1920s-30s: The Rise of Juventus in Italian Football
In 1923, the same year in which Giampiero Combi, one of the sport's most distinguished goalkeepers, made his playing debut for Juventus, Edoardo Agnelli became the new president of the club. Agnelli, son of Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli, was quickly convinced of the need for a larger stadium to accommodate his team's growing number of fans. The club soon moved into a bigger, stone-walled facility in Corso Marsiglia.
The team also began attracting major players. Joining the club under Agnelli were its first real coach, Jeno Karoly, and inside left Ferenc Hirzer, both Hungarians. They augmented the talents of a handful of major players, including Combi and Virginio Rosetta, who, joining the team from Pro Vercelli, became the first players ever transferred for money in European football history. Others on the team included Carlo Bigatto, Giuseppe Grabbi, and Frederico Munerati. Karoly coached the team to its second league title in 1925. By that time, Juventus had become a major power in Italian sports.
Juventus became a dominant team in the early 1930s, winning five league championships between 1930 and 1935 and providing several of the players who won the World Cup in 1934. Juventus simply had a talent-rich team, and under coach Carlo Carcano the club had its first golden era. It was spearheaded by the "Trio della Legenda" (legendary trio) made up of Combi, Rosetta, and another fullback, Umberto Caligaris, but it also had other star players, including Luigi Bertolini, Felipe Borel, Renato Cesarini, Giovanni Ferrari, Luis Monti, Raimundo Orsi, and Mario Varglien. It was also during this period, in 1933, that the team began playing in a new stadium that had been built by the city to accommodate the World University Games. It would remain the home of Juventus for the next 57 years.
Dominance Lost and Regained
In 1935, two years after Juventus began using its new facility, Edoardo Agnelli died in a plane crash in Genoa, Italy. Although his death stunned the club, it continued to hold a dominant place in Italian football right up until World War II, and by 1937 it had won its first Italian Cup. The war then put European football on hold, and though it came back strong with the restoration of peace, in the first few postwar years Juventus lost its primacy in Italian football to Torino, which won repeated national championships from 1945 to 1949.
During that period, in 1947, Gianni Agnelli assumed control of the team. He led it to another championship season in 1950. Although its success was partly the result of the 1949 loss of Torino's first team in another air disaster, Juventus served notice that it was once again a major competitor. Still, it had to rebuild, which it proceeded to do during the 1950s under the leadership of Gianni's younger brother Umberto Agnelli, who took over the presidency in 1955. With Umberto in that post, the team once again reached Italian football dominance. It won championships in 1958, 1960, and 1961.
Although Juventus again had to rebuild in the early part of the 1960s, in 1967, under the presidency of Vittore Catella, it again won its league championship. Then, starting four years later, in 1971, with Giampiero Boniperti as president, the team began a long period of successful seasons. Between 1972 and 1986, it won nine championships and earned victories in all the European and international tournaments in which it played. Its world class players during that period included Pietro Anastasi, Roberto Bettega, Antonio Cabrini, Franco Causio, Giuseppe Furino, Claudio Gentile, Michel Platini, Gaetano Scirea, Marco Tardelli, and Dino Zoff.
Juventus performed particularly well during the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons. In the former season, Juventus won both the Cup Winners' Cup and the Super Cup, and in the latter, the team claimed the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. Unfortunately, Juventus's achievement in winning its first European Cup was marred by events that occurred at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium, where, in the championship match, the team was pitted against UK's Liverpool club. Poor placement of spectators in the stands led to fighting between rival fan groups, then to the collapse of a wall and the death of 39 Italian fans. Juventus beat Liverpool 1-0 in the tragic game. Michel Platini, the great French player, scored the game-winning goal. Giovanni Trapattoni, who later became the Italian national team's coach, was the club's trainer. Much of the team's success came from the play of defensive stand outs Stefani Tacconi and Marco Tardelli.
The 1990s: A Major Peak and Subsequent Decline
In 1990, with Dino Zoff serving as coach and Vittorio Chiusano as president, Juventus won both the Italian and the United European Football Association (UEFA) cups, and three years later again won the UEFA Cup. In the next year, 1994, new managers took over the operational control of Juventus. The new leaders, known as "the triad," were Roberto Bettega, Antonio Giraudo, and Luciano Moggi. They installed Marcello Lippi as chief trainer or coach, and he immediately guided the club to a championship and the Italian Cup in the 1994-95 season. However, the team lost in the finals of the UEFA Cup tournament.
The following season, 1995-96, proved to be the best of decade for Juventus. It won the Intercontinental Cup in Tokyo, the European Cup, Super Cup, and the team's 24th Scudetto (Italian Championship). Also, it just lost the championship in the Champions League to Borussia Dortmund of Germany in the final game of that competition. Furthermore, although it would not reach such a peak for the rest of the decade, the team remained highly competitive. It did fare well in Italian competition, playing to the wire for a championship in 1997 and 1998, but it won no more cups in international competition, which was then dominated by Barcelona, Dortmund, Real Madrid, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich.
Still, the 1995 to 1998 team, fielding the same players in that period, was one of two Juventus teams to be placed by Soccer Digest among the top 25 professional teams of all time (the other was the 1984-85 Juventus squad). The club, led by Didier Deschamps, Pietro Vierchowod, Gianluca Vialli, Fabrizio Ravellini, and an up-and-coming Alessandro Del Piero, had great talent at every position. Starting in 1996, Juventus also fielded a player who would become one of the game's all-time greats--Zinedine Zidane. Although he already had a reputation as a talented player, until he moved to Italy's Serie A league with Juventus, he had very little international experience. Thanks to Zidane, Juventus rallied from Champions League disappointment to finish second in Serie A. He was of tremendous help keeping Juventus competitive through the next few years, when the team's fortunes generally waned. Among other accolades he received, Zidane was named Soccer Digest's Player of the Year in both 2000, when he was still playing for Juventus, and 2001, when he left Juventus to play for Real Madrid.
Towards the end of the decade, even with Zidane's great play, Juventus was struggling. Among other disruptive turns, Marcello Lippi resigned in the 1998-99 season. The job of trainer or coach fell to Carlo Ancelotti, who came over from Parma, a team that during Ancelotti's first of two seasons as trainer had the best year in its history. He was able to guide Juventus into two Italian championship playoffs but not to the cup.
2000 and Beyond: Rebuilding the Club into a Global Business
Despite the team's declining fortunes, Juventus was initially supportive of Ancelotti. It even rebuffed an effort by Milan to acquire Anecelotti after Milan dismissed its head trainer Alberto Zaccheroni. Despite the the team's fading glory, Juventus inked a two-year renewal of Ancelotti's contract in March 2000, but by the end of the season decided to buy out the contract and dismiss him. Ancelotti then went to Milan after all, and, in June of 2001, Marcello Lippi again returned to the helm of Juventus.
With the advent of the new century, Juventus undertook a strategic move to refashion itself into a global business. It set out to find international sponsors to help it become such a business, something European arch rivals like Manchester United had already accomplished. Between 2000 and 2001, it hoped to double its international sponsorship revenue from about 25 percent to 50 percent. With one of its major sponsors, Pepsi Cola International, it launched a "Dream Prize" campaign, offering club fans across the globe a chance to watch the team in live action and meet its star players.
The club also decided to sell 32 percent of its stock, and in 2001 made its initial public offering (IPO) on the Italian stock exchange. Until that time, although it had been a limited company since 1996, 99 percent of its shares belonged to IFI, a company owned by the Agnelli family. However, like the stock of AS Roma and Lazio, two other Italian football clubs, that of Juventus underperformed. Also, it had other problems shared by rival teams, including the failure of pay-per-view television to catch hold. The club still believed it would benefit from its public sale of stock, thanks to some planned capital projects, including Mondo Juve (a large leisure facility open to the public) and the purchase of the Stadio Della Alpi, which would be transformed into a smaller venue with premium seating.
Principal Competitors: F.C. Internazionale Milano S.p.A.; Arsenal Football Club; Milan A.C. S.p.A.; Leeds United plc; Manchester United plc; S.S. Lazio.
- Farber, Michael, "Soccer Chic," Sports Illustrated, May 16, 1994, p. 64.
- Israely, Jeff, "Whose Ball Is It Anyway?," Time Atlantic, April 22, 2002, p. 53.
- "Italian Clubs Are a Little Offside," Business and Finance, August 15, 2002, p. 60.
- "Juventus Eyes Success off the Pitch," Nation (Thailand), November 20, 2000.
- Saporito, Bill, "Zidane Makes the French Connection," Time Atlantic, May 27, 2002, p. 61.
- "ZZ Is Back on Top," Soccer Digest, November, 2001.
Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 53. St. James Press, 2003.