Challenger to Watch 2017: Copa90
Giving fans a voice in modern football.
Billed as the home of football fan culture, Copa90 is a fast-growing global sports media brand with a clear and directional focus on covering everything outside of the 90 minutes on the pitch. Launched initially as a YouTube channel in 2012, this is a platform geared for a generation growing up on Buzzfeed and Snapchat, and can now boast of a following of over 10 million users and a valuation of $77m, based upon their Series A funding.
Whilst Sky and BT Sport offer live match broadcasts, hyped up as armageddon and then analysed to death by ex-pros and experts post-match; Copa90 offer a daily, and constant, fan’s view of the game - the transfer rumours, rivalries, derby days, debate over team selection and everything in-between. When footballers appear on Copa90, they’re not presented as footballing gods from another planet, but sat on the sofa, disarmed and free of footballing cliché for a bit of Fifa and chill with Poet and Vuj, the channel's twenty-something hosts.
"I don't believe old media alone can satisfy the appetite of the modern football fan", Chief Strategy Officer, James Kirkham told Fast Company. "I go home, turn on the TV, and watch the game. But then I'll continue talking about what happened long after, and that's the void Copa90 is aiming to fill."
As part of a bold ambition to become 'the most influential sports media brand on the planet', Copa90 have acquired Kick, a US-based global sports media platform which provides access to the North American market, whilst their influence has already seen them land partnership deals with Adidas, Hyundai and Nissan.
New ideas are quickly adopted, and since Copa90 rose to fame, Sky Sports have re-launched their popular TV show, SoccerAM as a YouTube channel with the aim to create content for young millennials, whilst BT Sport (although already offering a more relaxed studio environment than rivals Sky) have recently introduced ‘Talk of the Terrace’, a live feature within broadcasts that has fans get their views across to the studio.
Whether these fan-centric initiatives are direct responses to the success of Copa90’s approach or not, the big TV sports broadcasters are evidently aware of the need to appeal to a new generation of fans wanting to feel closer to the action than they've previously been allowed. Whilst also recognising this 16-24 demographic want to, not just passively consume, but also interact with the beautiful game, when and where, they want to.
Whilst Sky and BT Sport have been in locked horns over Premier League TV rights, forking out a record £8.3bn in the latest TV deal, there’s a strong case that Copa90 have blindsided them both, capturing the attention of young football fans everywhere, without paying for their match ticket.