Matchday at the Stadium

      Think of a clock. The sheer perfection with which a series of links, axles, cylinders, wheels, coils and springs move simultaneously as one to keep track of time. If a single, tiny element were to be removed – if even the most miniscule screw were to go missing – the hands of the clock would be rendered motionless, unable to tick around.

      Now imagine you’re sitting in the stadium. Your cheeks painted with the colours of your favourite team. Around your neck a scarf, on your lips a song. The teams enter the field of play, a resplendent green. The music begins, the television cameras broadcast the spectacle around the world, the line-ups flash up on the big screens. The stands are packed to the rafters and as you look around you catch the eye of a yellow-bibbed steward. You exchange smiles.

      Hours before you arrived, someone checked that your seat was ready for you. Someone checked the microphones. Someone placed a good bottle of white wine in the cooler to chill. Out on the pitch, someone’s expert hand checked the turf to ensure the right level of moisture on every blade of grass.

      Every time you take your seat at Juventus Stadium, 1500 people are moving simultaneously as one in order to ensure you have the best 90 minutes of your week. 

      The night before

      Twenty-four hours to go until kick-off. Two teams are preparing to do battle in the classic Serie A late slot of 20:45. One of them is Juventus.

      Imagine having to organise a party and draw up a list of all the things you need to check before 41,475 people arrive at your home. Are all the lights and projectors working? Are the turnstile wheels greased? Are the stands clean? Are the toilets in order?

      Your home is almost certainly not a 90,000m2 stadium, but ours is and this list really does exist. Once everything has been ticked off by the person responsible for checking that all the facilities are functioning correctly, the list is handed into the stadium security director (and the police) the night before the game. The checklist represents the passing of the baton: it verifies that the hands of the clock are moving perfectly – ready to bear witness to more goals, more scintillating play, more excitement.

      The checklist is then given to the person in charge of match-day operations. At this point, the theatre is nearly ready for the show. 

      Outside, in the 2000m2 car park, the television trucks are already parked up and ready. Every one of them is attached to Juventus Stadium by a series of cables running from the car park to a room within the stadium which will transmit the audio-visual signal of the match. Once the signal has been adjusted by each individual broadcaster, it is beamed out around the world.

      Inside, all the television cameras are linked up in the gantry and down at pitch level, where the grass glistens with moisture in the evening air. Situated 14 metres below ground level, the turf sits above a labyrinth of warm water irrigation tubes which work constantly to ensure the 2.2/2.7 mm long blades of grass are kept at a room temperature of 14/15°C, to make sure they keep growing at all times.

      The stands have already been cleaned, as have all other parts of the stadium, including the hospitality areas. The security personnel are in place. The stadium can rest easy. It’s match day tomorrow.

      Matchday: Early morning

      The sun is rising over Juventus Stadium. Today the reigning champions of Italy will defend that Tricolore crest on their shirt from another team of would-be pretenders. It’s a position the Bianconeri are well-accustomed to, having contested 985 matches as champions since the formation of Serie A.

      The first to arrive are employees of the Facility and Maintenance department, one of the four pillars of organisation that enable the stadium to function properly.

      In truth, there is no “last to leave” or “first in” at Juventus Stadium, given that ever since its inauguration on 8 September 2011, there’s always been at least one person watching over the place. Day and night, three hundred and sixty-five days a year.

      The permanent maintenance team grows from 27 to 74 on matchdays (cleaning staff likewise from 7 to 40).

      Some employees – part of the Site Manager’s team – spend the match itself working in one of the most important rooms in the stadium: the Building Management System (BMS). It is here that Juventus Stadium’s entire power supply is overseen and of course, it’s vital that this critical control room never – and that means never – has a blackout.

      “Even if the local power supply were to cut out, we would still be able to see the event through to its natural conclusion,” explains Fulvio Berchialla, Site Manager and Facility and Maintenance Director. “By sacrificing non-essential consumption channels, we would guarantee power for the essential elements such as floodlights (2000 lux), security lights, pitchside LED hoarding and broadcasting equipment. We also ensure that all features relating to the safety of people inside the stadium are backed up, along with those that enable us to keep the match going until the final whistle.”

      Berchialla (right) and his colleagues in the BMS. The system operator clocks off at around 2am, once everything is shut down.

      This is guaranteed by an electricity generator located at the stadium (a diesel-powered motor that generates electricity to replace the external power supply) and a group of Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs), which cover the ten-second start-up phase for the generator, during which time a power cut would otherwise be possible. Without this, the match might disappear from your screens for a few seconds, a scenario we don’t even want to contemplate.

      By the time our team of cleaners arrive in the morning, the Stadium is already nearly ready for the game. It’s given a first clean after the end of each event, then the stands and walkways are cleaned the day before the game. During the week, our permanent cleaners ensure that the stadium is never left to gather dust, maintaining excellent standards of hygiene at all times. All that remains is for the team to give the windows a buff and check that everything is in order out in the carpark and around the outside of the stadium.

      In winter, we work daily to prevent freezing before stepping up our operations on match day. We use special salts and other products – the same used in airports – to treat the special flooring on the second tier (with the stars). If a cold snap does occur, we implement Operation Snow: launched at least a couple of days before the game, we constantly adjust our plans according to the latest weather forecasts. In fact, we work with a specialist company that provides stadium employees with ad-hoc snow bulletins two or three times every match-day.

      Who looks after the pitch?

      As soon as the sun rises over the Alps – from which Juventus’ old stadium took its name – our groundsmen begin their work. Their first job in the morning is to clear away the lamps we use to keep the grass in optimum condition.

      During the colder months, the lamps are used to facilitate the natural process of photosynthesis. They are positioned over one half of the pitch during the day, before being switched to the other half overnight.

      We begin the process of cutting the grass on a Wednesday. A few millimetres are trimmed off at a time until we have achieved optimum blade length for a football match.

      “Juve are a technically skilled side that always look to move the ball around quickly. The blades of grass must be moistened with the correct quantity of water in order to ensure the ball rolls as it should,” explains our expert Green Manager Vittorio Ferrino, the man responsible for the pitch at Juventus Stadium and all the training pitches in Vinovo.

      Juventus' "Green Manager", Ferrino.

      Regardless of the time of year, come Friday night the field of play is practically ready, both in terms of blade height and pitch markings. In a few hours’ time the grass will be under considerable stress caused by the players’ studs.

      For Champions League and Serie A matches, the groundsmen work until 18:30 on matchday, when they come off the pitch while the players have their warm-up.

      The stewarding team

      While the finishing touches are being made to the pitch, the lamps are packed away in the large storage space under the Tribuna Sud. As of nine in the morning, the first stewards are present at the stadium to help television workers as they begin their production work ahead of the evening’s match.

      It is the job of Operations to position the stewards around the stadium, while the department also manages support staff, turnstiles operators, CCTV camera operators, private security staff, 105 healthcare assistants and 11 fire service personnel. It all adds up to over 800 people on any given matchday.

      Marco Patania, Juventus Stadium Operations Manager: Patania runs a team of approximately 600 stewards, including between 70-90 hostesses, and up to 70 staff members stationed in the stadium's car parks.

      Anyone coming into the stadium for work purposes has their own pass. The Operations area is responsible for issuing these, be they season-long or match-specific passes. By way of example, if it snows, the Operations area must issue passes to 50 shovellers before they can enter to remove the snow. Ad-hoc requests for accreditation passes start coming in a few days before every match. The majority of these come from press and television personnel, with around 600 passes issued for every game. 

      “It’s a meticulously organised operation. Our office has to recruit all of the stewards for the game. The positioning process is scientific in its attention to detail: every steward has their own predefined role, they know where they need to go and who their superior is,” explains Marco Patania, Operations Manager at Juventus Stadium. “The hierarchy goes stewards, unit head, coordinator, steward manager, vice director and finally director. The job instructions clearly state to whom each person should report.”

      For every game, we choose between 530 and 650 stewards from a pool of 1000, plus there’s a reserve list standing by to cover if anyone is unable to take their place at the last minute.

      According to the number of spectators expected at the stadium, we interact with the Operational Security Group (GOS), a Ministry of the Interior body which comprises the fire, ambulance and local police services, as well as Juventus’ Security Officer. These parties take part in a preliminary meeting three days before the game, which is also attended by the Stadium Director and club Supporter Liaison Officer. During the meeting the various parties are given an information sheet on the game, comprising ticket sales, weather reports, security information and any orders from the National Observatory on Sporting Events. From this we draw up the Stewards’ Operational Plan, which indicates how many stewards will be needed for the game and where they will be stationed. The day before the game, a logistical meeting is held at the police station in order to equip all parties with finalised information on the event. The stewards then begin their work before the television operators can arrive.

      Broadcasting and media

      By the time matchday begins and the technicians have begun working on television production, the stewards are already in position and all requests from the various broadcasters have already been dealt with. What requests? How exactly does everything work?

      Let’s start with the basics. Juventus produces all images of the match and so there is a bona fide television production suite at the stadium itself. For every game, there is a main production truck fitted with all the necessary technology.

      At the hub of the operation: there can be as many as 32 cameras aboard. The stadium is wired up by a 10km network of cables.

      The cameras are linked up to monitors which the director views from the truck, choosing the best camera view for each bit of the action. The director is not a Juventus employee – they are appointed by the Lega Serie A and change on a match-by-match basis. The Lega Serie A regulates production according to the Audio-Visual Production Regulations.

      However, the images selected by the Lega-appointed director are not the finished article you see on your television screens. Each broadcaster (Sky, Mediaset, Rai, JTv etc) integrates this signal with that of their own cameras according to the rights they purchased at the start of the season. As you know, some broadcasters may carry out interviews pitchside, some are entitled to exclusive flash interviews straight after the match and so on and so forth. For every match, the various broadcasters make a request to have a certain number of additional cameras at the stadium, within the confines of their contract. For example, this could mean one down at pitchside (for a pitch reporter or pitchside segment), one where the team buses arrive and another in the mixed zone. We adhere to qualitative standard A (B and C exist too), with 18 cameras as standard, plus the additional cameras provided by the various broadcasters.

      The “match package” is therefore obtained using footage captured by technical equipment (cabling, video cameras) provided by Juventus, with the various broadcasters adding their own extra shots using their own reporters and exclusive interviews.

      Broadcasting Supervisor Chafik Ould Mhalla selects a team of around 50 equipment operators, sound technicians and audio-visual technicians for the production of each match. When the Lega-appointed director arrives on the day of the game, “they find the team ready to go. We guarantee that the technology is of the highest quality in Italy,” explains Ould Mhalla. “It’s this attention to detail that makes the difference – we select the best vantage points, cameras and technicians, all of which are specialists with the camera they use, having been working with us for four years now.”

      "We guarantee that the technology used for broadcasting the match is always of the highest possible quality"

      Ould Mhalla’s department receives requests relating to television production and accreditation passes from the various broadcasters for the match in question. A camera plan is drawn up, and once the accreditation passes are ready (something that is achieved thanks to the help of the Press Office and Operations Department), television operators from the likes of Sky and Mediaset merely have to turn up at the stadium to find out where they will be stationed.

      Naturally, the various stations are set out accordingly in the days leading up to the match.

      The vents through which the television cables are passed.
      The positioning of the cameras around the pitch.

      See all of these vents? This is where the cables that connect the broadcasters’ trucks (which arrive the day before the game) to Juventus Stadium go. Starting from this box – the nerve centre of all the connections – the signals travel underground to the cameras.

      On the morning of the game, we check that all of the various trucks have arrived in the car park opposite the stadium – this includes those managed directly by the Lega, such as Goal Line Technology and the uplink trucks, which have satellite antennae to broadcast the match around the world. Once this is done, we check that everything is working correctly and is ready for production to begin, including details such as theme tunes and television graphics.

      60 chefs occupy the stadium's two 7000m2 kitchens. Their work begins early in the morning to ensure that as many as 4,500 guests will be well catered for come kick-off.

      While everything is in full flow, there are many cooks and assistants working to prepare the food for the evening.

      The menus are decided by the company that provides the catering services, in agreement with the Events Department.

      “They need to be varied, not monotonous, and attempt to cater for all tastes. We are able to accommodate requests for special menus, such as vegetarian or gluten-free menus, even at the last minute,” explains Events Manager Alberto Pairetto.

      That said, it would be impossible to prepare all 1700 or so dishes served in the Sivori Club – let alone the dishes served elsewhere in the stadium – at the last minute.

      Once the menus are approved, the ingredients are delivered to the stadium on a Wednesday and the cooks begin preparing the bases so that, come matchday, all they need to do is apply the finishing touches. In the hospitality areas equipped with their own kitchen (such as the Agnelli Club and the Legends Club), prepping is done quickly on site. 

      Alberto Pairetto, Events Manager: among the duties of the Events team is the management and planning of broadcasting.

      By midday the hospitality areas are already nearly ready for the guests to arrive. “We work from the moment one game is over right through until the next match day,” continues Pairetto. “It’s also our responsibility to dress the stadium, maintain its appearance, prepare the dressing rooms (according to the requests of the sporting area) and run fan-engagement activities both before and during the game.”

      The Events Department – which swells from seven to 630 people on matchday – is also responsible for fundamental tasks such as ensuring the correct functioning and maintenance of television apparatus and digital equipment (such as LED hoardings and big screens), supporting the sponsorship department and orchestrating the stadium during the games (managing the music played in the stands, for example).

      The Lega Serie A director, assistant director and producers arrive around lunchtime. The first thing we do with them is a check of the TV Compound in order to make sure that everything that has been requested in previous days has been prepared correctly. It has.

      Next we have a recce round the filming stations of the stadium, from those down at pitchside through to those in the mixed zone, in order to verify that their positioning tallies up with the camera plan.

      We take the stairs to navigate up and down but also hop on the lift, while the lift technicians finalise their own checks. From now until the end of the day, a team of two specialist lift technicians will always be present at the stadium: this means that they can immediately take action should a lift develop a fault, without having to wait for an external expert who could struggle to access the stadium quickly given the large numbers of people in the area.

      The catering staff for the 10 Premium Hospitality zones arrive at around 14.00.
      The dining rooms are prepared three hours before the turnstiles swing open.

      Setting up for the 24 bars, six hotdog points and 'ristobox' – where the majority of the fans will grab something to assuage their appetites – starts just after lunch and continues right through until the gates open, while Events Department staff ensure that all products are displayed in line with sponsorship agreements with our commercial partners.

      Museum & Tour
      An army of fans take in Stadium and Museum tours in the hours leading up to kick-off.

      Starting from 13:00 and running every 15 minutes until 16:00, our Special Match Day Tours will allow around 1000 people (half of whom will also visit J-Museum) to get a behind-the-scenes taste of Juventus Stadium.

      We have 20 employees to help organise this activity (which we will look at in more detail in another chapter of Juventus Special), including ten guides and ten stewards. For regular days, the team decreases in number to eight.

      The afternoon

      One of the most important briefings of the day takes place at around 15:00, between the Security Officer and the eight steward coordinators. During the meeting the parties both analyse specific issues relating to the impending match and flag up points from past events that can be used for improvement. After this, the unit managers – around 60 of them in total – meet with the coordinators and the Vice Security Officer (or the Security Officer himself, depending on the match in question).

      All stewards are informed of their instructions before the start of the match: it is a system whereby the correct assignment of duties and responsibilities is vital for the entire operation to function correctly.

      Everything is set out in the Match Organisation Dossier, which sits on the Events Manager’s desk having been sent off to those within the club who need it a few days previously. The Dossier is a comprehensive overview of everything that occurs on matchday: from the match kit worn by the two teams to the first-team schedule, the arrival time of the refereeing team, sponsor activities, camera positions, special activities for guests, the menus being served in the hospitality areas and even the colours of the ID bracelets worn by staff.

      The stewarding front desk.
      Staff sign in here before receiving their stewarding jackets and bibs.

      The Events Manager’s telephone rings constantly. Part of their job is to implement the Supporter Liaison Officer’s plans for the game, both home and away. The Supporter Liaison Officer’s job begins around a week before the match, when the opposition team is informed of the sales channels for tickets in the away end following instructions from the National Observatory on Sporting Events. The Supporter Liaison Officer – requested by UEFA in 2010 and implemented by the FIGC from the start of the 2012/13 season – is in constant contact with their opposite number for the opposition team.

      Their conversations become more frequent as kick-off draws near, with constant updates on ticket sales figures and any fan problems that may arise. All of this information will later be passed to the police.

      As time ticks towards kick-off, the expectation begins to reach its peak. As the 20.45 kick-off approaches, the hospitality zones are already primed for the evening's action. The entire stewarding team is assembled by 16.30 to be ready to work by 17.00. 

      Everything is monitored on screens positioned in the room where the Operational Security Group (GOS) assembles. This enables them to keep an eye on the stadium’s CCTV system, while the four multi-focal PANOMERA® cameras mean they can survey the stands too.

      Each of the 16 Panomera cameras are trained on every sector of the ground, relaying images in high definition.

      The PANOMERA® cameras allow us to constantly record footage of a large portion of the stands, but unlike PTZ cameras, it is possible – both during recording and afterwards – to review the footage and zoom in on a particular area at any given moment.

      A pre-match briefing for the team of firemen.

      This footage – and that of the 100 other cameras fitted at the stadium – is made available to law enforcement authorities, with a delegation present in the GOS room.

      Entertainment at the stadium

      The Lega delegation arrives at around 17:00 and has an initial meeting with the broadcasters to speak about pre- and post-match activities. It may seem like a routine meeting to confirm protocol, but there’s more to it than that. While the persons responsible for operating the various cameras are always the same (except when it comes to the Champions League), the director changes every match and each director has their own way of doing things. Moreover, the activities taking place before kick-off change from game to game – there might be a particular sponsor initiative or a minute’s silence to observe, in which case the protocol would be modified accordingly. Once all the various parties are on the same page and aware of what needs doing and when, the show can begin.

      The last people for us to introduce are those responsible for organising entertainment for the fans – over 40,000 of them – that will soon fill the stands. This 90-strong team have just arrived and will soon be ready to paint faces, get the songs going or man the mechanical ball ride.

      “All our sport production activities are designed to promote a relaxed atmosphere and provide entertainment at the stadium,” explains Ivan Stacchino, who has been responsible for stadium entertainment since the 2007/08 season. “This form of entertainment was introduced to Italian football for the first time at the Stadio Olimpico, following in the footsteps of American sports.”

      The big screens, lights and music are all controlled from this room.

      From mystery player quizzes to Fan School, the Juventus anthem, the LED Soccer system and the aforementioned mechanical ball challenge, there are a whole host of activities on offer for Bianconeri fans, with between 3000 and 4000 people involved every matchday. There are fixed entertainment stations dotted around the stadium – with a plan drawn up at the start of each season – as well as mobile activities such as face painters (six people with three bases), welcome girls and eight mascots backing up J (representing Pogba, Buffon, Chiellini, Marchisio and the last four Scudetti won by the club). If you’re wondering, each one of the costumes weighs around 30kg.

      The stadium also features two Baby Parks, one each in the East and West Stands. These act as crèches and can accommodate up to 70 kids per match. The stadium entertainment offering is completed by things to watch on the big screens and music provided by a DJ.

      “Everything’s organised as if it were a television show,” continues Stacchino. “For every game, Juventus receives instructions from the Lega Calcio and the various sponsors on what activities it needs to lay on. These are then communicated to the Events Department and we draw up a schedule including all the goings on for the match, be that the MVP presentation ceremony, the presenter’s speech or a look back at special moments from Juventus’ history.”

      The advertisements that appear on the hoardings surrounding the field are tested individually before the match following the timetable above.

      Of course, all this doesn’t just happen by magic on matchday. Sport production staff are at the stadium the day before the game to check that everything is working correctly and is in good condition, while all the equipment has to be carefully packed away again after the last fan has left.

      “The show begins two hours before the match with the opening of the gates and steadily intensifies as kick-off approaches. The idea is that when the fans arrive, there’ll always be something to keep them entertained rather than them having to wait in the cold for two hours."

      Nearly there

      Evening falls over Juventus Stadium. While media personnel start to arrive in dribs and drabs, picking up their accreditation passes and getting down to work, the stewards are undertaking a meticulous check of every seat in the Stadium. This operation – which is overseen by unit heads – will be repeated after the match too.

      The stewards check that every seat is working properly, including the 600 with their own built-in monitor. Meanwhile, the groundsmen take their leave of the pitch but stay nearby, armed with hooks and other tools in case a net or flag needs repairing during the game.

      All set in the dressing room for the usual pre-match television shots of the players' jerseys.

      The cameramen are in position. Television production is underway. Fans and journalists alike are arriving. But let’s take a step backwards.

      In the weeks previous to the game, editorial secretaries from the various newspapers, television channels and radio stations will have been emailing the Juventus Press Office to reserve seats at Juventus Stadium for their reporters and technicians.

      Every journalist entering the stadium must first collect their pass from the dedicated media kiosk that opens two hours before kick-off.

      Up until five days before the game, each accreditation request is evaluated and – if approved – inserted into software that enables us to manage the great many requests that come in from Italy and abroad. For a big match like Juventus vs. Napoli, for example, around 200 media personnel will be granted accreditation for the game.

      18.45: The turnstiles finally swing open!

      Disabled fans are able to make use of a free booking service. Oriented towards fully disabled people and those needing constant assistance, it means these fans can come to the Stadium – with a chaperone – for free.

      Also present are around 20 members of official Juventus Club Docs. These lucky fans – selected by the national coordination centre – will participate in a guided Walk About of the Stadium designed to finish up in the tunnel at around 19:30 so they can greet the players as they arrive. It’s the last stage of a route that sees the fans take in the entrance hall, media area, mixed zone and pitch. Once they’ve welcomed the players, each of these fans will take their seat to enjoy the game as they regularly would. The Member Walk About is happening at the same time, a similar initiative for Premium Members from Italy and abroad. Having arrived at the Stadium at around 19:00, the members get the chance to take part in the big quiz pitchside before being accompanied to the Partners Club for dinner and finally to the comfortable seats in the West Stand for the match itself. 

      There are more member activities underway: a lucky few longstanding Premium Members have been selected for the VIP Hospitality experience, a kind of loyalty prize that enables fans to take in the game from the Juventus Sky Box and be in the tunnel – just outside the dressing rooms – to greet the players and take a few photos with them after the final whistle. Meanwhile, in the Legends Club, ten J1897 members will sit at their own table for a similar experience.

      Music now fills the air. The sound engineer, DJ, broadcast operator, mixer, technicians and stadium announcer are in position. One person assures that everything occurs according to the schedule, with the correct video played on the big screen at the correct time and with the correct song to accompany it. The atmosphere crackles, the minutes tick by quickly and the team buses approach.

      The first to arrive is the visiting team bus, as is the norm. Then it’s our turn. 

      Press Office staff are in place to inform a certain player that it’s his turn to answer questions from reporters waiting in the tunnel. Then, as usual, it’s Juventus CEO Giuseppe Marotta who speaks in the flash zone, where any broadcaster that has bought the rights is entitled to conduct interviews. Meanwhile, a few journalists – including those from the club’s official JTv channel – are recording pitchside pieces to camera.

      The cameras are rolling and the images are being beamed onto your television screens at home. Remember the box where the broadcasters attach their cables to allow them to cover the game? Well, just an hour or so before kick-off, they’re all working in unison. 

      Not a single cable is unaccounted for.
      The producer casts a keen eye over proceedings.

      After getting changed and having a quick technical meeting, the players are ready to make their entrance onto the field for their warm-up. According to tradition, the song to play is Thunderstruck by ACDC. The Stadium roars. Meanwhile, on Twitter, Snapchat and our LIVE MATCH section, we’re busy describing the pre-match action to you at home.

      For some games, young Junior Members are eagerly waiting for the Juventus players to head back into the dressing rooms, pull on their playing kit and line up in the tunnel so they can take their hand and walk out together towards the centre circle. It’s a dream come true for every one of them.

      They change in the ball boys’ dressing room, putting on the Bianconeri kit – or the opposition or referee strip – and they cannot wait to shake hands with Gianluigi Buffon. After the warm-up, it’s time for the fans in the stands to get their scarves out and sing along to the Juventus anthem, Storia di Un Grande Amore.

      It’s at this point that something truly marvellous happens, something like this. 

      Work to set up the crowd banners starts at nine in the morning. They are made up of thousands of 69x95cm sheets of PVC.

      The moment so many people have worked towards has finally arrived, as the referee blows for the start of the match. Every song suddenly stops to give way to just the tempo of the play and one’s heartbeat.

      In the press box, where journalists and members of the media have enjoyed a special buffet, everyone has been in position for a few minutes to describe the action. They sit with a warm cup of tea in hand, commentary coming through their headphones and the game and a computer screen before their eyes.

      It’s nearly 20:45. Music continues to ramp up the atmosphere. While the Chemical Brothers are blasted out over the loudspeaker, everyone on the pitch and in the stands holds their breath. It’s a time of inner calm where every sound seems muffled and distant.

      The moment that our staff have been preparing for and the fans have been waiting for finally arrives: the referee's whistle for kick-off. The music stops to make way for the roars of the crowd and the chants of the home faithful.

      At home with the ‘Juventus’ app in hand or at a bar, with Twitter open on your smartphones, you are tweeting like crazy commenting on the match and interacting with the Juventus.com editorial team sat in the press box. Below, on the pitch, everything is nice and tight, with no barriers separating the stands from the pitch, guaranteeing the best possible view from all four corners of the ground.

      The stadium is almost always a sell-out (95% full on average, way above the Italian mean of 57%, in line with German and English grounds) and matchday revenue continues to grow (€325 million at the end of last season).

      At half-time, a player from one of the two sides is led by a member of the press office to a mini-flash zone, a special area set up for a quick comment on the match. It’s the same protocol with the post-match super flash interview and, if the Bianconeri player is smiling, that’s typically a good sign. It means they’ve won. Again. Supporters can once again go home happy and tell their family and friends about the goal they watched from just a few yards away, the sudden, frenzied, extended roar of the crowd in celebration. The next match is already in the diary.

      And then?

      The club anthem comes out over the loudspeaker system. The match is over and the players are in the dressing room. Two of them, along with a pair of opposition players, are undergoing drugs tests after being randomly selected by the FIGC prosecutor's office and the Lega with both teams present. The fans have already been given messages from the control room and the music fades while the last football fan leaves the ground.

      While Juventus Stadium empties out, the pitch is tended to by the groundsmen who reposition the light units for the following 90 minutes. Their day’s work ends shortly before 2:00. It began very early, as we’ve seen, and the same goes for the following day.

      The guys working at Sport Production, meanwhile, have taken down some of the media positions, while others such as the LED Soccer system are reset ahead of the next match.

      After eight Serie A TIM matches, a reception is held for around 100 members of the Italian and overseas branches of Club Doc. There they can feast on a buffet and meet a selection of Bianconeri players.

      Those players not busy with interviews, meeting the fans or undergoing drugs screening go out through the side door in front of the team bus, where they meet J-Members keen to congratulate them.

      In the stands, the stewards are already clearing the way. All of them carefully follow the clean-up operation protocol. While the ball was flying around on the pitch, the heads of Facility and Maintenance had already stepped in to remove dangerous objects from the car parks (like glass bottles), disposing of rubbish from the bars, to make sure they aren’t just left lying around the food and beverage areas making the place look untidy.

      The operation continues even after full time of course. The PVC sheets and miniature flags used as part of the choreography – chosen by the club and fans and approved by the local authority’s midweek security forces meeting – will be collected and disposed of by the cleaning team, who have a first tidy-up of the stadium after the match. The weight of material used in the choreography averages a staggering 600kg.

      The busiest place at this moment in time is the press room, which closes its doors three hours after full time. The cameras are recording until the final interview with the last remaining player is complete. Pitchside, in the flash area or the press box, meanwhile, qualified technicians are safely packing away television cameras. This is a rather time-consuming process which only ends at around 2:30. If you’re lucky, you won’t have a midweek game to prepare for the following day. Otherwise it’s back to work at 10:00.

      Once everything has been taken down, there needs to be a debrief for every department involved on matchday: Events, Facility and Maintenance, Operations and Museum Tours. While the lights of the main concourse area are dimmed (the hospitality areas remain open for 90 minutes after full-time), the broadcasters meet with Lega representatives. For Champions League matches, there are also meetings with UEFA delegates to assess the day’s work as a whole.

      In the car park where the TV trucks are gathered, meanwhile, the broadcasters' leads are removed with the vehicles ready to leave overnight. The guys working in catering leave the stadium at around 1:00.

      The last email can be sent as late as 2:30, i.e. shortly after the BMS worker has switched off all the lights while they wait for the last stewards and journalists to leave the media area. The dressing room also descends into darkness once the drugs tests are complete and the kitmen have finished up.

      After this long account, several questions come to mind. And there's one in particular we'd like to ask head of Juventus Stadium, Francesco Gianello: How can you continue to be innovative in a ground which is already at the cutting edge of Italy and Europe and stay ahead of the game?

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