Internationally renowned soccer executive Ian Ayre was announced as the first-ever CEO of Nashville’s Major League Soccer club on Monday, NewsChannel 5 reported. His team will have a nice taxpayer-funded stadium in which to play.
Ayre served as CEO of Liverpool Football Club of the English Premier League, one of the most respected soccer clubs in the world, the station reported. He has a record of success, having being voted Premier League Chief Executive of the Year in 2017. According to leaders with the MLS expansion team in Nashville, he was the top pick for the job.
Ayre’s team will play soccer in a taxpayer-subsidized stadium in a deal helped along by former Mayor Megan Barry, The Tennessee Star reported in December. The Metro Council voted 31 to 6 to “approve $225 million in revenue bonds for a soccer stadium at the Nashville Fairgrounds despite concerns about the fairgrounds’ existing uses as well as the growing list of costly city projects,”over the objections of some Metro Council members.
Save Our Fairground then filed a lawsuit to stop the MLS soccer stadium construction, which was ultimately dismissed.
The Nashville Sports Authority was a finalist for the Beacon Center’s 2017 “Pork of the Year,” as The Star reported.
Ayre has overseen the expenditure of large amounts of money on stadiums, according to The Tennessean.
In Liverpool, Ayre landed a record deal to restructure the club, The Tennessean said. He oversaw a $160 million stadium expansion. Later, he became managing director for 1860 Munich. He remained in that role for eight weeks before leaving because of ownership conflicts.
The Tennessean reported that John Ingram and his investment group, the major owners of the soccer franchise, hired sports search firm Nolan Partners to find a CEO.
Ayre said that five years ago he would not have considered working with Major League Soccer, but Commissioner Don Garber has achieved good results. He liked the idea of working with a club at its inception.