JUVENTUS have not had the best start to 2022-23 and already some people are calling for the head of coach Max Allegri. After a decade of dominating Italian football, Juve now have stiff competition in Serie A and in the past two seasons, Inter Milan and AC Milan have won the scudetto. Moreover, Juve haven’t been quite the same club since the Cristiano Ronaldo years.
The pandemic exposed some of the shortcomings of Italian football’s business model and Juve have suffered more than most. In 2020-21, they made a loss of over € 200 million and in 2021-22, the deficit widened to a net loss of € 254.3 million, the highest ever in Italian football history. They have now made a loss for five successive years.
It’s a very worrying situation, but Juve’s finances would have been even more challenging if they hadn’t completed a capital raising exercise in December 2021 that generated close to € 400 million. While this strengthened Juve’s equity, it was the second such exercise in a three-year period, following € 300 million raised in 2019.
In 2021-22, Juve’s revenues fell by 7.8% to € 443.4 million, largely due to under-performance in Serie A and the UEFA Champions League. After the complete collapse of income from ticket sales in 2020-21, Juve’s matchday revenues recovered to € 32.3 million, but around half the peak year of 2018-19. Broadcasting earnings dropped by 28% to € 170.5 million, a reflection of the club’s decline on the pitch since the highs of 2017 when TV income was over £ 234 million.
Juventus last five seasons
|Revenues €m||Pre-tax loss €m||Wages €m||Wage- income ratio|
Commercially, Juve’s income was also down, from € 206 million to € 199 million. And yet, Juve’s wage bill went up by 9% to £ 351 million, representing a wage-to-income of 79%, seven percentage points higher than 2020-21. More positively, Juve have cut their net debt to € 153 million and have cash liquidity of around € 70 million. Of their gross debt (€ 223 million), € 176 million is owed to bondholders and € 6 million to banks.
The club has proposed a three-year plan for the years 2022-23 to 2024-25, which includes strategic and operating initiatives to maintain sporting competitiveness, economic and financial balance as well as improved operations and brand development. Interestingly, it also highlights the intention to take an active role in the reform and evolution process of the sporting industry. Juve’s ambition is to go shoulder-to-shoulder with Europe’s top clubs such as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. The club was among those advocating the creation of a European Super League in 2021, a proposal that appears to have been aborted for now. However, the club’s chairman, Andrea Agnelli, was among the most enthusiastic supporters of this controversial project, so if global economic conditions worsen, it is likely another attempt will be made.
Juventus were beaten in two Champions League finals in 2015 and 2017, but since then, they have reached one quarter-final and three times could not get beyond the round of 16. It is arguable that the Cristiano Ronaldo experiment was not a big success, from both a playing perspective and financially.
Juve have been one of the most active clubs in the transfer market over the past five seasons (2018-19 to 2022-23). Only Chelsea (€ 900 million) have spent more than Juve’s € 877.9 million and their net spend of € 288 million is among the 10 highest worldwide. Clearly, this level of spending is unsustainable. In 2022-23, their transfer balance sheet is currently a positive after they sold Matthijs de Ligt to Bayern Munich for € 67 million. They picked up two notable big names on free transfers in Ángel Di Maria and Paul Pogba, both of whom are older than the likes of de Ligt.
Juventus cannot afford many more slip-ups in the Champions League in 2022-23, they’ve lost their first two games in the group stage, against Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica, so more setbacks may consign them to the Europa League in the knockout phase. That would surely impact their revenue generation into 2023.