In the age of technology, it has become increasingly difficult to hold the attention of the average human being. Thanks to smartphones, our attention spans have declined from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to eight in 2016, even less than a goldfish (at nine seconds). As Liverpool F.C.’s CEO Peter Moore says, “Ninety minutes is a long time for a millennial male to sit down on a couch. When I look at viewing and attendance figures of millennial males, I’m concerned as a CEO of a football club that relies on the next generation of fans coming through.”
Tech prowess and the fight for attention (spans)
As a former president and chief operating officer of Sega of America and roles as the corporate vice president of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment division and head of Electronic Arts’ sports division, Moore has a unique understanding of how the digital age influences consumer choices, and is an expert on the addictive mind grip that electronic entertainment has, especially when it comes to teenagers and video games.
Fortnite is a free-to-play video game with over 200 million players (and according to data analysis firm, Superdata, the game has achieved the “most annual revenue of any game in history” for the year 2018) and has dominated global attention since its launch. This, is what keeps Peter Moore up at night, “If we don’t build technological prowess as a club, we will lose them [young fans]. There’s so much pressure on time now and only 24 hours in a day, [and] there are only so many hours to play Fortnite,” he says.
Further to that, the Liverpool CEO is adamant in his belief that the battle for young people’s attention is as important as any of LFC’s football matches against their rivals, whether Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur or Manchester United. Thusly, Moore has modelled his approach on the wealth of knowledge he gained in his previous job roles and has focused on packaging content in bites of 60 to 90 seconds to keep fan engagement - a concept which is reaping the rewards on a daily basis thanks to the ongoing phenomenon of social media.
Social Media Boom
In October 2018, Liverpool F.C.’s Instagram account passed the 10 million follower mark (it has now reached 12 million) and received the most interactions in world sport, ahead of Barcelona and Manchester United. Liverpool’s YouTube channel is the most followed United Kingdom account on the site and has the highest viewing figures in the Premier League, ranking fourth in world football.
As a fan’s lifetime value can be measured on how they access the club across various platforms, whether through the purchase of LFC merchandise (available on a multitude of e-commerce stores), subscribing to the club’s video channel on the official website i.e. LFCTV GO or one of the best scenarios; attending a match at Anfield, the club is currently in collaboration with IBM. With this, the club looks to streamline website optimisation, content generation and also ensure the creation of applications that have a global reach, and, their approach is simple (and a common thread in the arena of successful brands); know your customer.
“That’s something I learned in video games. I can push you all kinds of stuff on particular players, but if you’re only interested in [striker] Mohamed Salah, and I don’t know that, my outreach is wasted,” Moore says. “You might like [midfielder] Gini Wijnaldum. The more we learn about you, the more we can push Gini Wijnaldum stuff that you’ll click or engage. The key is that I need to know who you are.”
Liverpool, the city, always at the heart
Liverpool’s local fans, Moore believes, are an integral part of the club’s appeal at international level and it is essentially unique in comparison to other teams. “We trade on our local fans. We trade on ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’,” he says. “The atmosphere is generated by local fans…the massive majority [of people at games] are local people.”
Winning the Premier League is priceless
Moore feels that it is impossible to measure the monetary success and potential boost to a club brand when it comes to title wins and explained this by referring to the club’s miracle win AC Milan when the unlikely Reds lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy in Istanbul in May 2005.
“I don’t know what cheque UEFA [the Union of European Football Association] wrote for winning that night. It doesn’t matter,” he says. “The memories that created and the brand enhancement of being down 3-nil to arguably the best club team in the world at that moment and then coming back to win was priceless.”
Football firsts on a global scale
According to Inside World Football, Liverpool are set to become the world’s first club to report an annual net profit of more than EUR 100 million which will break the profit record set by former Premier League Champions, Leicester City, in 2017. Inside World Football have come to their conclusion based on their calculations done after UEFA’s latest European club benchmarking report which contained the following paragraph:
UEFA Champions League prize money of €82m drove Leicester City to the highest net profit in history in FY2017 (€98m), beating the previous record of €78m set by Tottenham Hotspur in FY2014 (with Liverpool FC set to break that record again in FY2018).
Whether on or off the pitch, Liverpool are proving that they are the club to beat. What a time to be a part of Liverpool F.C. and indeed, what a time to be a supporter!
Up the Mighty Reds!