A message from NSST President David Wasiolek
To my fellow Nashville soccer supporters:
Earlier this month, I sat down with Ian Ayre, the CEO of Nashville’s MLS club, and we discussed a wide variety of topics of interest to Nashville soccer fans. I wanted to take this time to relay some of the insights he shared with me.
First, for those of you who have yet to meet Ian, he is very open and approachable, which has no doubt helped him in a wide-ranging career that has taken him across the globe, from England to Hong Kong to Germany, and then finally, to Nashville. After a stint with the Royal Navy, Ian moved into the tech space and ultimately became the CEO of Pace systems, a major player in the digital set-top box world.
Following a successful run with the company, he worked in a number of organizations, which included being an owner and Chairman of Huddersfield Town FC. Some years later he was recruited to join the front office of a team that he’d supported from childhood, Liverpool FC. In his time with LFC, he was elevated to CEO and earned the Premier League’s Chief Executive of the Year honor in 2017. After that season, he felt the urge to pursue a new challenge and accepted a rebuild project at 1860 Munch in Germany, but it was not the right fit, and fortunately for Nashville, he decided to leave.
During the interview process here, Ian was drawn to this opportunity because of the ownership and the city’s energy and in part because of the legacy of the previous team in Nashville – the NFC story. In addition, he was struck by the universal support of the community, from the supporters to the city government to other organizations like the Titans and Predators, who under normal circumstances may have seen a new sports team as competition. As the discussions with John Ingram went along, he became more and more excited and could not pass up the unique opportunity to build a team from the ground up. Since then, he and his family have relocated to Nashville, and they’ve been embraced to such an extent that it already feels like home.
Some things of note from our discussion –
Final stadium design is still being developed. The design will likely not be released until the ground-breaking ceremony some time in 2019.
Final MLS uniform design will likely be released in late 2019.
The Nashville MLS team is receptive into looking into ways to work with supporters on all issues, including the new stadium, and will connect with the supporter base as a whole as construction progresses.
The club has a strong vision of what a Tennessee-wide academy system would look like and how players could be developed and monitored across all the youth organizations and age groups. Personally, Ian would like to see this begin either simultaneously with the start of the team or even earlier.
Ian is working hard with Mike Jacobs on identifying top talent to bring to Nashville. There is a great desire to build a team of exceptional talent that also reflects the diverse flavors that make up the stew we call Nashville.
As one can imagine given his background, Ian is very interested in seeking ways to optimize the entire ticketing experience, from purchasing to entry to transfers. He wants the process to be as seamless as possible.
Ian greatly values ongoing input from the supporters and sees the Trust as an excellent tool in this process. In this regard, he would like the Trust to help him develop ideas to drive the interest and intensity of support of the team to even greater heights.
Ian is very much looking forward to attending the Supporters Trust board meeting in January, where he can meet face-to-face with members of the board and discuss the issues that are important to the supporters they represent.