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What sense does it make to have a vintage Serie A day

Is it really a "beautiful but not feasible" idea as said in Lega?

What sense does it make to have a vintage Serie A day Is it really a beautiful but not feasible idea as said in Lega?

"Serie A league meeting. A manager of a top club proposes: why don't we organize a vintage day? All matches at 3 p.m., old uniforms without names, black boots, etc. Operation with strong emotional and commercial impact. Response: nice idea, but not viable." Reporting the exchange is Marco Iaria, Gazzetta dello Sport, with a tweet posted last Tuesday that predictably fueled a torrent of discussion. The impracticality of this proposal, after all, cannot but ring in the ears of millions of fans and enthusiasts who recently witnessed, for example, the logistical acrobatics to send the Super Cup to Saudi Arabia, with expanded format and in the middle of the season, showing unusual flexibility.

The establishment of a "vintage day" of Serie A could indeed be, beyond the proposed format, an opportunity of "strong emotional and commercial impact." It would, in fact, fit into a marketing structure that is decidedly less developed than the European benchmark, the Premier League, which in step with globalization has taken its brands and products to every latitude; and light years away from the industry's excellences, the NFL, the NBA and MLB leagues. In Italy, such an initiative would be greeted by a predictable appreciation of the public, which it is appropriate here to consider not only as spectators in the strict sense (who also have a proven nostalgia for contemporary Sunday afternoons), rather in their dimension as consumers and users of the product. Merchandising then, in an increasingly wide range of products and market segments, but not only; as some virtuous overseas cases show - "Turn Back the Clock," "Legacy Games," and "Hardwood Classics Night" (and in a broader sense also "Noche Latina," "Chinese New Year Day," and so on) - the benefits are tangible as much in the immediate as in the medium to long term, and touch several spheres: brand positioning, transmission of its identity, expansion of the target area, and loyalty of the fanbase. Using the rich tradition of its affiliates, in short, to create new commercial outlets and bring different generations of fans closer together.

Such an operation in the Italian context, however, comes up against a series of rigidities to date that seem still far from being scratched, starting with those stemming from agreements with TV broadcasters, DAZN and SkySport. In fact, TV rights revenues represent the main source of revenue for Italian clubs and Serie A is no stranger to the universal trend in sports entertainment toward what we call "spezzatino"; that is, the fragmentation of the calendar and the dilation of the football weekend, in the name of maximizing ratings and advertising revenues. Thus, it is difficult for the prospect of a return to basics to appeal to the key players in the business, barring truly extraordinary circumstances (such as the "pandemic" ones of January 3, 2021, the only precedent in the last decade). It is no coincidence that the progressive abandonment of contemporaneity has been observed in recent years even in the last days of the championship, sprints excluded, confirming the incidence of such logics even in the context of the single round. In any case, in the design of a vintage Sunday one can safely oust the calendar component and limit oneself to the aesthetic one, which seems more within reach and which, especially with regard to uniforms, meets with widespread interest in the public, among "nostalgic" and new generations.

Vintage jerseys, the historic and most iconic ones of each team, represent a valuable cultural heritage for the entire movement, which is only partially exploited. There are clubs more active than others in this regard-a couple of recent examples: Roma's "Origins" jersey and the new entries in AC Milan's retro collection-but there seems to be a lack of traction for the structure as a whole, in what should be a shared vision and mission. The innumerable restrictions prepared by the regulations regarding lettering and logos on uniforms (fonts, size, positioning), and in general on the player's equipment, do not help; and they are applied with extreme rigidity, as the fines to Fiorentina for the captain's armband dedicated to Astori remind us. In addition, many times technical sponsors are in conflict with each other, and cannot make jerseys similar to those previously designed by others, or do not want to associate their brand image with that of another competitor.

Add to this the fact that there is no stage on which the club's past can be revealed, told and celebrated on the pitch and the picture is rather discouraging, both for the teams and for the sponsors. Even the clubs most keen to focus on the historical connection with their fans find their room for manoeuvre restricted and often have to bow to the retro marketing statistics typical of Serie A. A Series B stunt a year and a half back, the "Vintage Weekend" in November 2022, seemed to some to be a first, tentative step in the opposite direction. The opportunity to capitalise on two challenges such as Palermo-Parma and Reggina-Genoa had at the time encouraged a creative approach aimed at enhancing the tradition of the clubs involved and reviving some old elements of Italian football culture in return.

However, it was an isolated case, limited to the dimension of digital communication and never repeated offline, despite the positive feedback from all those involved. In recent years, however, with the rise of the "new" leagues, which have unlimited financial resources, it has been repeatedly emphasised that it is precisely the history, tradition and what has been engraved in the collective memory that define the DNA of Italian and European football in general. They make it special and "better"," regardless (or almost) of the competitiveness, the spectacle on offer and the stars it attracts. Apart from the exaggerated pretentiousness, there is a grain of truth in all this, and one naturally wonders why our version of "Turn Back the Clock" is not even considered.