How Liverpool FC is using John Oliver and tourist videos to bring US fans into 'family'

The chief media officer at Liverpool FC says the club wants to win new US fans by making them feel part of its "family" - a strategy that has seen it bring in help from two high profile fans - as its American tour continues.

The club, which has been American-owned since 2010, plays three matches in the US – against Chelsea, AC Milan and AS Roma – in the next week.

Last week, the club published a video in which Liverpool-supporting comic John Oliver describes his love for the club and tries to convince Americans to lend the team their support. Satirist Oliver is far better known in the US than the UK for TV work including Last Week Tonight.

Liverpool then published a similar video from Carli Lloyd, one of the US women's national team who won last year's World Cup, on Monday.

Other videos posted during the team's US tour include a player's tour of Alcatraz, filmed on a GoPro camera.

The club's media chief Matthew Baxter told PRWeek that Liverpool had engaged with Oliver for several years. "We reached out to him and he said ‘of course, whatever you need’; he was only too happy to get involved," he said of approaching Oliver to take part in the video.

"Because we’re a family, we always get in touch with people we know and whatever they’re up to, check in or say congratulations. It’s a private thing so we don’t make a big song and dance about it, just like you would your relative or a friend," he said.

While Baxter would not be drawn on specific commercial targets, increasing the club's US fanbase and attracting people to games is a priority for the club. Already, US visitors are the largest overseas users of the club's official website with more than 180,000 average monthly unique visitors, and more than 400,000 active US followers on Facebook.

"The bigger the fanbase, the more that comes into the club – fans, revenue, engagement – that helps out on the pitch," he said, while adding a note of caution that the club had to be careful not to give fans the hard sell. "You have to be engaged with people, have the conversations and the rest will follow. If you ram the commercial aspect down their throats, they know what you’re up to."

Instead, he said that having "a family relationship" with fans old and new was more productive.

"Interest in football in the US has gone through the roof, and people are looking to support a club, and they like winners, they like history, they like passion," he said.

In February, PRWeek highlighted Liverpool's reaction to fan protests against ticket price rises as its Top of the Month.

With growing foreign fanbases a priority for many English football teams, Manchester opened a commercial unit in Singapore in October.

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