International Sports

Italian soccer giant Juventus switches to an online channel in a bid to grab a global fan base

Key Points
  • Behind-the-scenes footage including Cristiano Ronaldo and match highlights to be made available across all devices.
  • Italian Serie A to be shown on streaming site Eleven Sports Network for the first time from this season in the U.K.
  • Juventus TV has closed in the wake of disappointing ratings and high running costs.
Emre Can of Juventus in action during a pre-season friendly match.
Marco Luzzani | Getty Images

Italian soccer club Juventus launched a digital channel, replacing its traditional TV station which has closed after 12 years in the wake of disappointing ratings and high running costs.

By taking the content online, the Serie A club wants to offer more opportunities for fans to keep up to date from smartphone, tablet and desktop services as the new soccer season begins.

Club members can access the service for 2.99 euros ($3.50) per month or 14.99 euros annually, while non-members will be charged 3.99 euros per month and 19.99 euros for the year.

It's the latest sign from Juventus that it is taking steps to be recognized as a global brand, having also signed star player Cristiano Ronaldo during the summer transfer window for 100 million euros.

Five-time world player of the year Ronaldo is expected to make his league debut on Saturday, highlights of which will then be available on the new platform. As well as match action from subsequent Serie A fixtures, UEFA Champions League, and Coppa Italia, with real-time statistics and "multi-cam experience" allowing fans more interaction.

The variety available also extends to exclusive player content and the "behind the scenes" footage, as well as and pre and post-match build-up live from the club's Allianz Stadium.

Juventus is known as "The Old Lady" of Italian football and classic matches and exclusive legends footage will also be a draw for nostalgic fans. Meanwhile, for younger supporters, there will also be a special children's section.

It's not the first time this year Juventus has pivoted toward an online audience. In February, it premiered its Netflix documentary "First Team: Juventus," which followed the season as it went on to win a seventh straight league title.

From this weekend U.K.-based fans of Ronaldo and his new team will also get the chance to sample Italian soccer coverage from broadcaster Eleven Sports Network. The streaming platform will show one Italian top flight soccer match a week live, and for free, on Facebook. The first match to be shown will be Ronaldo's debut for Juventus. Eleven Sports Network will also show matches from Spain's La Liga after purchasing rights from BT and Sky.

As part of its push into Britain and Ireland, Eleven Sports Network said last week it had made Facebook its free-to-air partner to host matches involving clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Napoli.

The vast majority of Eleven's programming will be available on an app or online for £6.99 pounds ($8.90) per month, while the group is also in talks with other TV platforms. Tech groups have stepped up their focus on live-streaming sports in a bid to keep young viewers on their platforms.