Ian Ayre is the Chief Executive Officer of Nashville Soccer Club, Major League Soccer’s 24th club which began its participation in 2020 playing in a record-breaking crowd for a soccer game in the State of Tennessee with 59,069 fans at Nissan Stadium.
Since his arrival in 2018, Ayre was tasked with building the entire club from the ground up. In addition to overseeing the club’s business and soccer operations, Ayre has been responsible for the development of the club’s new and permanent stadium at the Fairgrounds, GEODIS Park. The largest soccer-specific stadium in the United States opened its gates on May 1st, 2022 in front of a 30,109 sold-out crowd.
Ayre has an extensive level of career experience gained predominantly in the areas of sport, media and technology. Following 10 years of active military service in the British Royal Navy, and professional experience in consumer electronics with Pace Micro Technology, he was involved in the takeover of Huddersfield Town Football Club, serving as Chairman & Chief Executive for the English Football League Championship club.
He transformed the club’s commercial revenues and completed the final stages of construction of their new stadium and the revitalization of the playing squad.
Following his time at Huddersfield Town FC, Ian became the founding managing director of Premium TV Ltd, a Digital Sports Media company which secured the digital media rights of all 72 Football League clubs and a host of Premier League teams. Premium TV was later consumed into Perform Group and more recently DAZN.
On leaving Premium TV, Ian returned to Asia to help build the Asian sports marketing organization Total Sports Asia. The business established offices in Malaysia, Japan, UAE, India, Thailand and China. Representing rights holders across multiple sports and selling TV & Digital Media rights across the Asian region, representing organizations such as WWE, USTA and FIFA.
In 2007, Ayre returned to the UK to take up a role with Liverpool Football Club, the club he had supported since his childhood. Over his 10 years at Liverpool he was responsible for rebuilding the club at all levels. After initially securing a record-breaking sponsorship deal for the club, he went on to restructure the entire commercial, operational and football elements of the business as well as overseeing the successful £120m stadium expansion. He was directly responsible for all player transfer negotiations including contract negotiations on over 100 players (acquisitions, sales, loans, extensions) including Phillipe Coutinho, Steven Gerrard, Luis Suárez, Roberto Firminho, Raheem Sterling, Sadio Mané and worked with five leading coaches (Rafa Benítez, Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish, Brendan Rogers and Jürgen Klopp). During his time at Liverpool, Ayre also served on the UEFA Competitions Committee as an elected member and in 2017 was voted Premier League Chief Executive of the year. He stepped down as Chief Executive Officer in February 2017.
Born in Liverpool, England, Ayre has been a soccer fan since his early years and followed Liverpool all over the world both as a fan and as an employee. He would describe himself as a creative person who enjoys building and cultivating empowering cultures within his teams. A keen golfer and motorcycle enthusiast, he naturally loves the excitement of challenging projects that create outstanding outcomes.