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New Juventus stadium unique in so many ways

August 13, 2011

Juventus are due to open their new stadium next month but so far there is no name and no big-name signing to grace it.

From the very start the stadium project was unique.

Juve will be the only Italian club to own their own stadium, something which English soccer fans in particular find very difficult to comprehend.

Inter and Milan only rent the San Siro from the city council while AS Roma and Lazio borrow the Stadio Olimpico from the Italian Olympic Committee.

Juve decided to break the trend and in turn ultimately boost revenue by knocking down the widely detested and council-owned Stadio Delle Alpi (then sharing with Torino for the past few years at the smaller Stadio Communale – also council-owned) and building a new stadium all their own where most of the income goes to the club and nowhere else.

More radical was the decision to only have around 40,000 seats despite being Italy’s most successful and best supported club (although admittedly many fans live in the south of Italy and never go to Turin).

A full arena has been deemed more atmospheric and helpful to the team than playing in a huge cavernous and souless half- full stadium which the Delle Alpi, which could hold more than 60,000, often was.  The San Siro and Rome’s Stadio Olimpico have capacities of around 80,00 but they are only ever full for derbies and big European nights.

The most innovative Juventus idea was to sell the naming rights of the stadium to a ‘middleman’, a company called Sportfive,  who paid Juve money to help build the arena which they will make back when they get a sponsor.

Now here is the weird thing. There still has been no announcement of a sponsor. Arsenal’s  Emirates stadium and Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena were given their titles much earlier than this.

So why the delay for Juve? Has their match-fixing demotion in 2006 and subsequent underachieving on the field meant sponsors are not so interested in a financially tight world?

The team which walks out when the stadium is due to host its first match against Parma on Sept. 11 is pretty much the same as last season when the once mighty twice European champions finished seventh for a second straight season.

Mirko Vucinic is among a smattering of new faces but there has been no stellar buy after Manchester City outfought Juve for Sergio Aguero.

New coach Antonio Conte, who was part of the glory years at Juve in the 1990s and early noughties, has a job on his hands to mould a competitive team with Milan and Inter seemingly way ahead.

Juve’s aura on and off the pitch may never be what it once was.

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