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Juventus embracing social media innovations with new content studio

YouTube and TikTok creators present challenges for clubs, says CMO.

22 February 2023 Josh Sim

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  • Juventus Creator Lab’ to bring together different creators for content collaborations
  • Partners to work with new social hub for engaging content
  • First self-produced documentary getting Prime Video release

The addition of the ‘Juventus Creator Lab’ will help the Italian soccer giants content compete with social media influencers, according to Mike Armstrong, the club’s head of marketing.

The Creator Lab is a new in-house production studio setup for the club, alongside creators hailing from numerous media platforms, to produce a range of content. Armstrong told SportsPro that the new hub came about in a bid to diversify Juve’s social content.

“When I joined Juventus, and started seeing some research on feedback from fans related to the type of content that they’re expecting, especially at an international audience, my feeling was that the sports industry, or perhaps football within it, wasn’t keeping up at the pace of what other categories within entertainment overall was doing,” he said to SportsPro.

“I see sports and football as competing with social media influencers, with TikTokers, with YouTubers. I didn’t see a significant effort within most sports organisations to change how they identified and created content for the expectations of the new audience. As a marketer, the fans are number one, the most important thing for me is to give the fans what they want, and what they expect.”

Despite the recent political turmoil at the club, Armstrong said that preparations for the lab were not impacted at all by the boardroom changes. The Creator Lab, he explains, will have a designated space near the training ground, inviting players to take part in creating content. Club partners will also have opportunities to be integrated into the content produced, as well as work on new branded content formats developed by the Serie A outfit.

“We’re literally building this petri dish of social media influencers, with content creators, videographers, editors, and TV broadcasters,” continues Armstrong.

“One avenue is listening to our fans and actually bringing them in-house. So we’ve actually hired some of our hardest core fans that have had success building fan social media channels. Another avenue is changing how we staff our team and hiring people who were on the path of being successful content creators, say on TikTok or Instagram.

“The third is that we’re partnering with influencer concentration companies, like the Italian firm Stardust. We’re working with their group of content creators in a way that provides more content for us but also teaches us internally how to continue to stay fresh.

“I see us being able to build an efficient model, where we see future revenue is certainly on original content, partnering with folks like Amazon, but also brand-new content across their ecosystem, and then ultimately increasing the performance of some channels that we have, like our TV or YouTube channel.”

With a multi-pronged strategy, Juventus are aiming for a balance between content designated for the Italian and international markets. One of their first experiences of producing longer-form content came with the 2018 Netflix documentary ‘First Team: Juventus’, before the club was also profiled in Amazon Prime Video’s ‘All or Nothing’ series a few years later.

“[These experiences] have definitely opened our eyes to the fact that there were great stories to tell, that our fans are interested in and had value,” Armstrong reflects. “We feel now there’s so many stories that can be told, whether it’s about our players, whether it’s the journey of the team, or even whether it’s some of the interests of Juventus staff.”

The first documentary produced by Juventus Creator Lab has recently been released in Italy, with ‘Federico Chiesa – Back on Track’ is set to receive a global release on Amazon’s Prime Video platform. The feature on Chiesa’s injury recovery process is to be the first of several, with Armstrong revealing another to already now be in production.

As well as stories covering the men’s first team, the studio will allow the women’s and youth teams to be showcased too. Armstrong says the club are “really excited” to give these squads better exposure, adding to the players’ image and spotlighting the Italian outfit’s focus on young talent.

“This will drive the content strategy across our channels,” he adds. “We see more clubs and sports organisations needing to act across social media, and like entertainment brands, really show intimacy. In December on our TikTok channel, we had our best month on views and interactions ever when we weren’t playing.

“With the right content strategy in place, you can actually really provide a lot of entertainment without playing football.”

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