With 92 million Millennials – the core demographic of American soccer fans – the market is ripe for soccer and clubs with global brands like Juventus have taken notice. Even better for Juventus, its Chief Revenue Officer, Giorgio Ricci, indicates their research has identified a whopping 27 million people in the United States who have a stated interest in their soccer club.
What is an Italian soccer club to do when they face a mature market with limited growth margin in their own country? Well, if you’re Juventus, you execute a bold marketing tactic – part of a larger American strategy – by piggybacking on the success of a popular American sport other than soccer.
On December 7th, 2018, the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets hosted their first ever “Juventus Night!” – a collaboration between the European soccer giants and the basketball team that calls the Barclays Center home. This marquee event was the first ever collaboration of its kind between an Italian soccer team and an NBA team.
The Nets were set to play the Toronto Raptors that evening and prior to the game, Barclays Center held a watch party for Juventus’ match against Italian rivals, Inter Milan. Conveniently, the colors of both Juventus and the Nets are black and white, so both sets of fans arrived to the arena adorned in their team’s familiar regalia.
By partnering with the Nets, Juventus entered another Millennial-driven, culture-influencing sport in basketball in an equally culture-influencing city. If even a handful of fans at the Barclays Center that night with a better understanding of the Juventus brand, then mission accomplished.
In the short term, the successes of this will likely to be hard to assess. However, as Juventus continue their growth strategy in American markets, it will become clearer what impact they’ve already made and the distance between Turin and the U.S. will grow closer and closer.