Video games threaten to steal millennial fans from sports: Liverpool CEO

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Sports face a threat to lose millennial fans to video gaming. This fear is expressed by Premier League club Liverpool Chief Executive Peter Moore.

Moore’s concerns are no mere apprehensions. His opinion is based on the television audience and match attendance figures of millennial male fan base. He was particularly concerned about football. However, the threat to other sports too cannot be ruled out.

Moore’s concerns don’t come in the form of rival teams, injured players or losses on the pitch. What keeps him up at night, he says, is Fortnite, the $15bn a year, free-to-play video game taking the world by storm.

“If we don’t build technological prowess as a club we will lose them (young fans),” Moore had told Arabianbusiness.com. “There’s so much pressure on time now and only 24 hours in a day, (and) there are only so many hours to play Fortnite.”

Premier League leaders Liverpool CEO Moore has said that football must embrace new technologies to avoid losing younger fans to things like video games. The man has been closely associated with both the worlds and witnessed the sports and gaming industry from close quarters.

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“We are an industry that needs to harness technology to make sure we don’t miss an entire generation of young people growing up that don’t have that love for football,” he says. “We need to package content in bites of 60 to 90 seconds to keep their engagement.”

Moore has previously held roles with video game companies Sega of America and EA Sports, the developers and publishers of video games. He has been associated with the top-flight English football outfit since 2017.

Moore says the Merseyside club are not only battling with other teams for new fans, but also with video games like Fortnite. The 64-year-old fears that younger fans are no longer happy to sit and watch full 90-minute games, and pointed to viewing and attendance figures of millennial males as a particular cause for concern.

“Ninety minutes is a long time for a millennial male to sit down on a couch,” Moore told the Arabian Business magazine. “When I look at viewing and attendance figures of millennial males, I’m concerned as a chief executive of a football club that relies on the next generation of fans coming through.

“If we don’t build technological prowess as a club we will lose them. There’s so much pressure on time now and only 24 hours in a day… there are only so many hours to play Fortnite.”

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The study claims that 64% of young people prefer social sports content to TV.

According to Moore, the clubs in order to compete with new offerings now need to find different routes to millennial audiences through pieces of content that have a lifespan beyond the 90 minutes of a football game.

“We are an industry that needs to harness technology to make sure we don’t miss an entire generation of young people growing up that don’t have that love for football. We need to package content in bites of 60 to 90 seconds to keep their engagement.”

Liverpool had recorded 463 million interactions across their four main social media channels in 2018, a figure that was only bettered in England by Manchester United and ranked fifth in world football.

Moore also revealed that Liverpool are working with technology giant IBM to optimise their website and apps so that they can provide fans with more personalised, relevant content that they are more likely to consume.

“That’s something I learned in video games. I can push you all kinds of stuff on particular players, but if you’re only interested in Mohamed Salah, and I don’t know that, my outreach is wasted,” Moore added.

“You might like Gini Wijnaldum. The more we learn about you, the more we can push Gini Wijnaldum stuff that you’ll click or engage. The key is that I need to know who you are.”

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