Big news from Venezia last week, with chief brand officer Ted Philipakos and media director Sonya Kondratenko, departing the club. The pair have been key figures in the Italian side’s rebranding and resurgence over the last two and a half years, so their departure will likely be a big loss for the Serie B side.

For any other team, the news that their Chief Brand Officer and Media Director had handed in their resignation... well, it just wouldn't be news that anyone not following the club would really be interested in. But this is Venezia – a club that has emerged from the relative obscurity of lower league Italian football to firmly establish themselves as a unique force in football culture. If one team could be picked out as leaders in the style scene over the last two seasons, it would be the team from Venice. Their new partnership with Kappa, who took the reigns from Nike, coincided with their return to the top tier of Italian football in 2021, and they marked the achievement by dropping four of the best kits in recent memory. It was a statement that introduced the club to the wider footballing world, placing them firmly on the map and creating an appeal that defied their performances on the pitch.

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Through progressive ideas, striking design and aesthetics, and passionate representation of their home city, Venezia FC placed themselves in the vanguard of contemporary football clubs redefining the relationship between sport and culture. And it was masterminded, in large part, by Ted Philipakos and Sonya Kondratenko; the club has grown commercial revenue by 15x since the pair returned in the summer of 2020 (The American duo had previously served the club from 2016 to 2017).

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But now they’ve called time with the club once again, bringing the curtain down on a hugely successful stint, with their attention switching to Philipakos’s other project, Athens Kallithea FC, where he’s an owner and has served as president over the last year-and-a-half. It’s a project for which he’s already incorporated some of the techniques and strategies that have worked so well at Venezia: partnerships with Kappa and Bureau Borsche, kit launches stylishly shot around the club's home city, and a new letter-based crest that doesn't look like a typical football club badge, setting out a new distinguishable visual identity that will be instantly recognisable throughout the globe.

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For their final project for the club, Philipakos and Kondratenko have presented UNIONE, a supporter-focused photography book commemorating Venezia FC's historic 2020/21 Serie A season, developed in collaboration with Venetian street photographer Eric Scaggiante, who roamed the terraces at Stadio Penzo throughout last season’s campaign, as the club made its return to the top flight after a 19-year absence. It’s a fitting sign off to their time.

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So where does this leave Venezia? The Serie B side are currently battling to avoid a second straight relegation that would see them slip to the third tier of the Italian league, and they will obviously be keen to not lose the momentum that Philipakos and Kondratenko created off the pitch, for fear of the wheels completely falling off this project. The club will therefore undoubtedly be looking for individuals that can pick up where Philipakos and Kondratenko left off, however, that’s no easy task. As the old adage goes, no player is bigger than the team, but this will be a huge loss to Venezia.

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UNIONE is available now on shop.veneziafc.it.