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The Serie A's branding problems

How come that Serie A is worth half of Liga and a quarter of Premier on the foreign market?

The Serie A's branding problems How come that Serie A is worth half of Liga and a quarter of Premier on the foreign market?

Yesterday Serie A officially sold the foreign tv rights for the next three season to the American agency IMG for a total value of 371 million per season. As always happens in Italy, it is difficult to understand if this final amount is to be considered a victory or a failure: Napoli’s President Aurelio De Laurentiis was clearly upset defining the deal “a shame for Italian football”; while Juventus’ CEO Giuseppe Marotta and Serie A’s commissioner Carlo Tavecchio were enthusiastic about it. Despite the evaluation of the amount of money, all this story put under a spotlight the image’s limits and the lack of management’s skills by the Serie A.


Let’s look at the data

TV rights are the main source of revenue for Serie A teams. This is one of the main problems in the Italian club's business model, which - with the exception of Juventus and Rome - are focusing very little on brand, stadium and merchandising. With this agreement, the Serie A is positioned behind the Premier League and the Liga, ahead of the French championship and the Bundesliga.  However, the amount of money tells the distance between Serie A and the other championships: the Premier League has sold its rights for 1.3 billion euros, the Liga for over 700 million. Figures ridiculing those just reached the Serie A that hardly will have the possibility of renegotiating the agreement until at least 2021.


A political problem

During the press conference, De Laurentiis highlighted an important point:

we need to recover so many years of major mistakes, where our product abroad was not seen

During the Golden Years of the Serie A - from the late 1980s to the 2004 - very little attention was devoted to the foreign market while the Premier League was able to enter the Asian and American market. The effect of calciopoli combined with the poor quality of Italian football caused the value’s collapse of the Italian football’s brand. Serie A became the outskirt of the European football while Premier League became "the global championship", the Liga lived on the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid and the Bundesliga inaugurated a clear and solid internal management. The poor growth of the Serie A was due to the lean management of the League: instead of nomitating a strong and entrusted management indipendent from the clubs, they keep using an assembly model where presidents are in power taking decision basically for their own interest and with a short term horizon. An outdated and ineffective model that just now the Serie A presidents are trying to change by looking at the models of the Premier League and the Liga. In addition, the overall value of the brand is also linked to the instability of the law and the economy, both typical aspects of our country.


But do not forget how still ugly is Serie A

We can not ignore the elephant in the room: Series A is really antiquated and behind the other championship from an image and visual point of view. Just look at small but important details: the old-fashioned logo, Instagram's official and Twitter profiles have just a million followers each and never write in English. Even from an aesthetic point of view, the championship is aesthetically ugly: the Lega has never imposed an aesthetic standard to the clubs about stadiums, visual identity, or filming matches. Many Serie A clubs are still lacking in an adequate number of communication and marketing professionals, and this is reflected in the anonymity that some clubs have in the international arena. Even the first-tier clubs - Juventus, Milan, Inter, Rome, Lazio, and Fiorentina - have lost value overseas over ten years ago for the non-existent care of the image and the brand.


We still have everything to be the first

Last week, The Guardian published an article in which he prophesied the revival of Serie A. From a football point of view, this season the Serie A is the most exciting championship in Europe: the dominance of Juventus seems to be undermined by the sparkling play of Naples (the best attack in Europe), young and promising talents that play more regular - Chiesa, Pellegri, Caldara - and a general enthusiasm around the Milanese and Roman teams. The only flaw is the growing distance between the strongest and the poorest teams, caused by the excessive number of teams and the ridiculous difference between Juventus first in the standings (550 million) and Benevento (just 20 million).