Liverpool chief commercial officer Billy Hogan believes Fenway Sports Group's ownership of the Premier League club is delivering real benefits to its international activities.
The American, speaking to SportsPro at Anfield before Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on 4th November, said that membership of John Henry and Tom Werner's group of sports teams was a huge help in managing the “hard balance” commercially between the club’s domestic interests and its global aspirations.
Fenway Sports Group also owns the likes of Major League Baseball team Boston Red Sox and Nascar's Roush Fenway Racing. "We have the ability," Hogan said, "as the sports marketing landscape continues to evolve and as the world continues to look at sports marketing, to really take notice in some of the developing regions of the world. We now have these properties where for the most part you can talk to any company about a partnership with one of these clubs or teams."
The presence of commercial unit Fenway Sports Management – an organisation for which both Hogan and Liverpool director of sales Olly Dale have worked – is of particular benefit to the teams within the group.
"We're able to have a close relationship with a huge amount of organisations who are working in the sports industry."
"The purpose of Fenway Sports Management is to drive revenue, generate revenue for all of the properties within Fenway Sports Group, so it’s almost an internal agency if you will," Hogan explained.
For Englishman Dale, access to Fenway Sports Management allows those based in Liverpool to tap into the experience and expertise of colleagues in a more developed American sports marketing industry, a bonus given that "the sports marketing industry in the UK is reasonably young by comparison".
He also said that Liverpool's position in the Fenway portfolio means it is often in a position to act "quickly and smartly" on partnership opportunities as and when they arise.
"We now have a team here in Liverpool, a team in Boston, we have folks in Asia, so we are now spread out across the globe."
"It gives us a great sense of scale in terms of our connections," he suggested. "That, for me, is an important point to make. We're able to have a close relationship with a huge amount of organisations who are working in the sports industry. So that's big and as we've said previously, this industry is moving very quickly, it's very dynamic, and the ability for us to be able to tap into different areas of expertise across the group is hugely beneficial for us."
Hogan gave the example of Liverpool's kit supply deal with Warrior as one which had arisen through the club’s Fenway contacts – Warrior owner New Balance has a partnership in place with the Red Sox. However, it is in the pursuit of a new breed of 'geo-targeted' regional deals, such as the recent partnerships with the likes of Turkish betting firm Misli and airline Garuda Indonesia, that the diverse range of expertise on offer has come to the fore.
"I think if you look at the way that we're structured," he said, "and it goes back to the Fenway Sports Group component, we now have a team here in Liverpool, a team in Boston, we have folks in Asia, so we are now spread out across the globe to be able to focus almost from a regional standpoint on developing the business."
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. You can also order a trial copy of the magazine here.