Documentary series Being: Liverpool has been "tremendous" for Liverpool's relationship with fans around the world, according to the Premier League club's commercial team.
Produced by American television network Fox, the six-part fly-on-the-wall series aired in several countries earlier this autumn and followed the opening weeks of manager Brendan Rodgers' career at the club. The rare look behind the scenes in English professional soccer took in a pre-season tour to North America and ended with Liverpool's 2-2 home draw with champions Manchester City in August.
It was the subject of some gentle mockery from rival fans and media commentators but Liverpool chief commercial officer Billy Hogan and director of sales Olly Dale, speaking at Anfield ahead of Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on 4th November, were in no doubt as to its value in reaching out to the club's vast supporter base.
"It's been tremendous in having a great dialogue with our supporter base," said Dale, "especially those who don't get to come to this stadium every week and see games. I was down in South Africa last week, for example, and people who are developing their following for the club and the English Premier League have really appreciated being able to see, up close and personal, a club like Liverpool in action."
The series, Hogan explained, originated when Fox approached Liverpool, eager to exploit the capabilities of a production team led by Emmy Award winner Scott Boggins that had previously helped create HBO’s 24/7 documentaries on boxing, Nascar and the NHL.
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Dale credited "flexible and forward-thinking people" within the club with capitalising on the opportunity presented by Fox. He said that while there had been "a commercial benefit", particularly in terms of exposure for principal sponsors Warrior and Standard Chartered, that was not "the principal reason for doing the programme."
Hogan does not expect Liverpool to be involved in a second series, given the previous tendency of the programme's producers to "move from subject to subject". Nonetheless, he reflected positively on the partnership.
"I think as Olly talked about," he said, "from our perspective we had the benefit of having a very flexible team, particularly on the football side – Brendan [Rodgers] and the coaching staff – and this was obviously a new experience for everybody within the club. Fox was great to work with and I think we were happy with the way that it came out."
A full interview with Liverpool chief commercial officer Billy Hogan and director of sales Olly Dale will appear in the December 2012/January 2013 edition of SportsPro. Click here to subscribe.