Born in Liverpool, Peter Moore spent nearly four decades in North America as a senior executive at companies like Microsoft, Reebok and Sega. From 2007 to 2017 he was with EA, where he served as president of EA Sports, chief operating officer and, finally, chief competition officer, advancing the company’s esports efforts. But last June, he returned home to become CEO of his boyhood club, Liverpool FC. With the club set to appear in this year’s International Champions Cup and play matches in Charlotte, New York City and at “The Big House” in Michigan versus its fierce rival Manchester United, Moore spoke to SportsBusiness Journal’s Ian Thomas about the last 12 months and what’s ahead.
On his approach to this role:
I started June 1 of last year and within a couple of weeks we had a town hall where I gave my vision of the club from two viewpoints; as a lifelong fan [who has] a deep knowledge of the club, and my business experience. In that world in which I lived in at Microsoft and EA especially, you better have had a digital plan and a digital outlook. I think in the case of modern football, the programs we’re now looking at to engage our fans in deeper ways are very similar. I was an exhibit of that; living in San Francisco, waking up at 4 a.m. and getting my Liverpool shirt on to watch the match. I was fortunate that I was able to buy boardroom season tickets and fly over on really long weekends, but I was lucky I could afford that when the vast majority of millions can’t, so they enjoy the club from afar. My job is how do I help people get closer to the club no matter where they are. Our overall approach is local heart, global pulse.
On Liverpool’s reach:
Third-party data will say that as many as 771 million people have put their hand up and say I follow Liverpool, I know who is playing and I saw the score of their match this weekend. A large subset of that will watch the games. NBC Sports numbers indicated that Liverpool was by far the most-watched team in the Premier League on American television last season. To be able to leverage that for deeper fan engagement is critical. Our ability to grow into that is going to be explicitly tied to a program we’re building [in conjunction with companies like IBM and Oracle], a massive technology infrastructure that will help us bring in people to experience the football club in a very unique and more intimate way.
On the U.S. tour:
There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your team in the flesh. And if you can’t get there, our job is to come to you — it’s missionary work. And for our players, who think they have probably been in some big games in big stadiums — going to the Big House to play against Manchester United? That will be something unique.
On bringing elements of North American sports to the U.K.:
I’m so used to going to an NFL game and it’s a day out; you tailgate, you watch the game, you hang out for a few hours. I’m a big [New England] Patriots fan, and with the Patriots you have no choice because you can’t get out of Gillette Stadium, but you get there early and stay late. Our turnstile data shows that in the 20 minutes before the match, 42 percent of the entire crowd is coming in. We are trying to build out Anfield into a destination where you would go and hang out two or three hours before, perhaps on a concourse or in a fan zone around the stadium. When I grew up it was about how long could I stay in the pub before kickoff and get my pints down. We don’t want to change people’s way of being, but I want to give them an option.