Q: What are your criteria when choosing brand partners for Liverpool FC?
Billy Hogan: It has been a very successful last 18 months for the partnerships team, which is a key component of our growth on the commercial side. There are basically two ways that a brand can partner with the club: one is on a global level and the other is on a regional level. With the likes of Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway and Carlsberg you have global brands that are interested in activating with the club on a global basis. Nivea is a regional deal focused on the UK and Scandinavia. One of the things we’re most proud of is the longstanding association we have with many brands – with Carlsberg it’s over 20 years, for example.
Q: How are sponsors extending their reach through their association with the club?
Billy Hogan: The exciting thing from my perspective – transitioning from the Fenway Sports Group (FSG) and the Boston Red Sox [baseball team] over to Liverpool, is the truly global opportunity that Liverpool can offer to a potential partner. In the case of Dunkin’ Donuts, that’s a clear example of Fenway’s advantage of having a presence in the US market. There’s a tremendous amount of growth [around football] in the US following the World Cup last summer and the fervour around the US men’s national team. Dunkin’ Donuts is now also running billboard ads around its Liverpool partnership in places like Vietnam.
Q: What are some of the key attributes that FSG has brought to Liverpool?
Billy Hogan: Four and a half years ago we were on brink of administration so one key thing has been stability. We have a diverse portfolio [of businesses] but each operates as a standalone business. There’s been a clear willingness from Fenway to let [Liverpool chief executive] Ian Ayre run the club. At the same time there’s a lot of crossover between the people working at different levels across those businesses and a lot of opportunities for best-in-class learning and sharing.
Read more on Hogan’s strategy in our sports sponsorship feature here