«I do hope that Liverpool will yet again be producing the players like Gerrard»
On the 8th of November at Lokomotiv stadium a lecture by the executive director of the British football club Liverpool Ian Ayre was given to students of «Management in Sports» RMA business school program. On the same day the stadium was hosting one of the European League games between Anzhi and Liverpool. The renowned soccer top-manager discussed in detail the work undergone by him and his team over the past 6 years, and answered students' questions.
Ian Ayre talked about the policy changes that were introduced by him, the criteria used by the club in working with sponsors, as well as described the club's developing relationships with its fan base.
«When I just came to this club, the main goal that was assigned to me by the club owners was the development of the commercial avenues that would provide the club the significant portion of its stable revenue, - says Ian Ayre. - I began by forming a structure, identifying club's most financially important operations, and appointing the qualified personnel to be responsible for each one of these areas, which included: working with fans, ticketing and promotional programs, merchandising, PR and of course media relations».
«In working with fans, just as in dealing with sponsors, we have adopted a simple basic principle - we are trying to provide them exactly what they want themselves. And in order for us to understand their preferences and needs better we've created a highly detailed database of all of our members and partners, which we regularly update and analyze to perfect our decision making processes. In general you could divide our members into three main categories: those who support «Liverpool» right on the stadium, those who follows the club's games over the TV or internet, and those who consume other club related merchandise, which usually includes club's logos and insignia.
I would like to say a few words about the merchandising. Here as well we are seeing a noticeable progress. Just six years ago we've only had a single club store, now there is 5 of them. Internet sales have also risen. There is another tendency that relates closely to the sports merchandising, that is historically, the most products sold in this category had been the jerseys displaying the name and the number of different athletes, however these days we see a significant rise in demand for a more casual clothing made by the well established clothing brands that have a license agreement signed with the club, and these sales are already nearly matching the volume of the traditional sales of jerseys and t-shirts.
Additional positive effect on the growth of the merchandising sales have been achieved by certain changes we have introduced to the way we do our ticketing. For example, the club's previous policy was to try to maximize the sale of the seasonal tickets, without much concern about how many tickets will be left available for purchase. Now we have decided to limit the number of all seasonal tickets not to exceed 50% of all of the available seats at «Anfield», and sell all the other tickets strictly individually before each respective game».