SSC Napoli returns to the United States for the first time in 30 years next month for two matches against FC Barcelona in the inaugural LaLiga-Serie A Cup. The Italian side also recently launched its exclusive brand store on Amazon.com in America.
Napoli’s involvement in the LaLiga-Serie A Cup and the club’s collaboration with Amazon isn’t sheer coincidence, it’s strategy.
“The United States is the most important market in the world,” Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis said. “Any business that wants to be international must focus on the United States. This applies to all sectors, including football.”
In 2016, the two-time Serie A and five-time Coppa Italia champions initiated an international development strategy focusing on key markets across digital and offline channels. According to the club, Napoli is the fifth fastest-growing club in the United States in terms of fanbase, increasing by an average of 5% every six months between May 2017 and November 2018. Napoli currently boasts 20 million fans in the U.S.
The 2018/19 Serie A runners up play reigning LaLiga champions FC Barcelona twice in the United States as part of the clubs’ preseason tours. The teams meet for the first time ever on August 7 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami before playing again on August 10 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“We thought it was the best time to come back to the U.S.,” De Laurentiis said. “Interest in Napoli has increased in recent years thanks to our recent results, participation in the Champions League and the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti, who is the foremost football coach in the world in terms of the number of international competitions he has won.
“Being in the U.S. for a week is an opportunity for us and for our partners, but it’s also a chance to reach a new target audience of fans.”
The club has seen interest increase on social media as well. Napoli, which Forbes ranked as the 20th most-valuable soccer organization in the world ($471m) in 2018, has approximately 7.5 million followers across social media, with 69% growth on Instagram and 53% on Twitter over the past year.
While Napoli will be on the ground in the United States in August, American fans now have more opportunities to represent the club through its Amazon store. Napoli in July 2018 became the first soccer club in the world to launch an official club exclusive brand store on Amazon in Italy, France, Germany, England and Spain. The club’s store features official merchandise as well as exclusives sold only on Amazon.com.
The partnership with Amazon has been crucial to the growth of the club’s brand, De Laurentiis said, with it drawing media coverage and fan exposure across Europe last year.
“The idea behind the partnership was to get closer to our fans, and—more importantly—to ensure our products are easily available to them,” he said. “One of the markets we got a high number of requests from was North America, so right after Europe we decided to focus on the North American market with Amazon.”