When Ian Ayre left for 1860 Munich, Liverpool faced a choice in hiring a new CEO. The club could go the traditional route and hire a lifelong football front office executive. Or they could have promoted from within. Instead, they went outside the business and hired Peter Moore. At the time of his hiring, Moore was the COO of EA Sports and previously had worked at Sega and Microsoft. It’s safe to say the only thing Moore is more passionate about than football is gaming.
No doubt this hire will start a trend in the Premier League. For years, clubs have hired executives outside the game. For a time it was executives from other soccer leagues but now business executives of all sorts are brought in to offer a new management perspective. Video gaming is a natural next step.
Consider Football Manager. The game allows fans of all types to pretend they can manage a football club and lead even the most destitute to the Champions League. FIFA is similar except players can use their football knowledge to better control players. ESports leagues are taking off and players are making six figures so it’s only fair that executives get the same opportunities.
Consider Arsenal. Arsene Wenger loves nothing more than unearthing a hidden gem that is undervalued but that is becoming harder in the over scouted world. So, Arsenal hires the executive who oversaw the development of Civilization VI, the newest edition of the classic game where you can build your own world. Combining Arsene’s cerebral approach with the new hire’s ability to see how a series of moves to lead to an empire can guide a new Arsenal strategy. The Gunners will either be able to build up a new, dominant empire or build a new temple to football to give the club more culture points.
Arsenal’s rivals Manchester United would of course take a different approach. What does Jose Mourinho love more than chaos that he can control all while throwing out a quick joke? The Red Devils respond by swopping in and hiring the design team behind Borderland 2. When you play the first-person shooter and watch the world revolve around you and your actions, you can see why they would work well with The Special One to bring Manchester United back to the top.
Why limit the trend to the Premier League? Newcastle United is a historic brand that has struggled to live up to expectations and retake their position atop English football. To help them take that next step, they can partner with the top executives from Nintendo, another brand who has fallen on tough times. Both brands could work together to discover how the past can become present, plus create nice kits with Nintendo splashed across the front.
Video gaming and football have gone hand-in-hand for years. Liverpool has taken the next logical step and we will see who the next Premier League club is ambitious enough to go further.