We’re back with another SportsBiz Spotlight, a feature that shines a light on fantastic organisations operating within the sport industry.
Our latest guest is COPA90 and we’re sitting down with Media Strategy Manager, Niel Lee and Director of the Fan Network, Ben Hansen!
Tell us about the business
NL: COPA90 is a fan-first football media company, uniquely positioned at the intersection of fan engagement and data and reaching more than 70 million fans around the world each month through our own channels.
BH: Offering a full-mix solution, including research, strategy, production, content, experiences and distribution, we work with the biggest brands, clubs, leagues, rights holders and platforms to make them more meaningful in the lives of football fans. As a business and brand we believe that football has the power to transcend culture, society and identity like nothing else.
What do you do?
BH: At COPA90 I lead influencer strategy and media as Director of Fan Network – COPA90’s influencer and publisher network, which in itself has a combined reach of over 300M people every single month.
NL: I’m a Media Strategy Manager at COPA90 and my role involves developing smart approaches for our clients to connect with football audiences. On a day to day basis I am usually planning platform approaches for content, crafting creative ideas and integrating influencer marketing concepts into everything we do.
When was it founded?
BH: COPA90 was founded in 2012 as a YouTube channel to tell the stories outside of the 90 minutes and serve those fans moving away from traditional media. Stories showcasing fan culture or giving players a new platform to show up and voice fresh opinions outside of the staid interview. Since then, we’ve redefined what sports media can be through our fan-focused football coverage across platforms.
What’s the main purpose of the organisation?
BH: We tell amazing stories and use football as a means to entertain, bringing audiences closer than ever to the sport they love. Through our branded partnerships and original programming we provide fans with a different style of football content, one that’s curated for the modern day football fan.
NL: We use football as our lens to have a lasting impact on our audiences. Football is a universal language that wherever you go, people use it as an expression of who they are. We tell the stories that go beyond the pitch and connect us to real people.
If failure wasn’t a possibility, what would be your biggest ambition?
NL: Whilst there’s always good lessons to be had in times of failures, I would say making COPA90 into the Disney+ of football is the greatest testament to what we do. It’s a 100+ year ambition built on a legacy of powerful storytelling. I’ll play Walt of course – dream big.
What’s your USP?
BH: Our insight and understanding of the football space is truly our USP alongside our forward thinking mentality and innovative media offering. From shining a light on women’s football before any major broadcaster, or reinventing how international football tournaments are covered and winning Broadcast awards in the process.
NL: It’s a combination of three things. We are passionate about storytelling, constantly agile in the way we approach media and our audience. You can’t replicate this combination and I think it’s what’s driven our success.
How many people work at COPA90 and what capacity? I.e. job roles etc.
NL: We have a team of 50 in London, with a global network of trusted talent within our Creator Community that fuels the team when flexing upwards.
BH: We also have a network of over 1,500 creators across 140 countries, who are always on the lookout for the most interesting football stories, whether that be about their local grassroots club, showcasing their experience of the World Cup or how music and football come together. It gives us a really global perspective on what it means to be a football fan.
Who are your usual clients?
BH: The vast majority of the work we do is for our T1/blue chip clients which include; PepsiCo (Lays, Gatorade, Pepsi and Rockstar), EA Sports, Budweiser, LaLiga, Chelsea FC and Nike to name just a few.
NL: I’m lucky to work with clients such PepsiCo, EA, Budweiser, adidas, Spotify and more. But also our creators; Ben Black, Chunkz, Lisa Freestyle, Fred and many more who we care about just as much.
Who would be your dream client?
NL: Dream clients would be any brand or agency who have a challenger mindset and want to take creative risks even if they’re number one in their category. Also Liverpool FC, my childhood club.
BH: Any brand that would allow me to do something creative with Formula 1. The way the sport has been reinvented for a digital / social first audience over the past few years really excites me and leaves lots of potential for innovative influencer centric activations (plus I’m a massive fan, so the free race tickets would be ace).
How can people connect with COPA90? What’s your website and socials?
NL: You can of course follow us across social, on all the usual platforms:
YouTube: COPA90 Football / COPA90 Stories
We’ve also got a podcast we produce with the BBC called The Players, interviewing the best in women’s football that is well worth a listen, it’s available on BBC Sounds.
BH: Also check out what we are doing over on @Football on TikTok and follow us on Linkedin if you are interested in seeing what we get up to over the summer!
Thanks to Niel and Ben for talking to us about COPA90 – it was fantastic to learn more about the business!
Finally, thanks to you, the reader, for reading our latest SportsBiz Spotlight! If you would like to feature your sports based business or know of an organisation you would like to see feature, get in touch!