Italian football club Juventus has decided to publicly defend Cristiano Ronaldo despite allegations (and some damning evidence) that the Portuguese star raped a woman in 2009. The allegations, filed as part of a civil suit, have since prompted Las Vegas authorities (site of the allegations) to re-open a criminal investigation. Ronaldo has dismissed the accusations as “fake news”, but has yet to explain the $375,000 settlement the American woman received (in exchange for signing an NDA) or the document detailing the night where he admitted “she said no and stop several times.”
Howie Long-Short: When Juventus (JVTSF) landed Ronaldo shares rose +42% (to $1.40). By mid-September the stock was up +135% (to $1.95) on the Ronaldo effect (see: kit sales, club increased ticket prices by 30%), so I’m not surprised to see the share price in free-fall with news of allegations that could end his career. Shares are down -20% since the allegations first surfaced on September 29th, dropping -10% on Friday (to $1.33).
It’s easy to understand why Juventus has been so vocal in their support of Ronaldo, they need him if they’re going to win the Champions League for the first time since ’96 and there’s a fortune riding on his availability. Aside from the broadcast revenue Juventus could claim by going deep in Champions League competition and the increased interest from sponsors, Serie A broadcast rights (both domestic and international) expire at the end of the ’20-’21 season and it’s been estimated that they are upwards of 30% more valuable ($500 million, $25 million/club) with Ronaldo playing for Juventus. It’s worth noting that a $25 million boost to the bottom line would increase the club’s revenue by +5% ($442 million in ’17).
Fan Marino: Ronaldo continues to play for the Juventus as the allegations and corresponding investigation hang over his head. On Saturday, he scored his 4th goal of the season leading the club to a 2-0 win over Udinese. While his club team continues to run him out on the pitch, his country is not; Ronaldo has been left off the Portugal national team for 2 upcoming matches and Head Coach Fernando Santos said the player would not return for a series of international matches in November.
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