FEED Issue 26 Web


My sister is a cinematographer-director in LA. She started a production company and we started doing projects with some top female footballers about a year and a half ahead of the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Working with players like Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, we looked at doing a proper series with some cool storytelling. That’s how I met Tom Thirlwall, the CEO at COPA90. I got introduced through Abby Wambach. Tom had brought Abby on in an advisory role to help COPA90 get more into women’s football. It had always been a digital-first football media company, telling stories and celebrating football culture from a very fan-centric point of view. It didn’t have any rights, but it started a football channel that focused on the fans and their stories. BEX SMITH: COPA90 is very celebratory. It’s very much about diversity and inclusion. It’s about how football can bring communities together rather than the normal rhetoric around Manchester City versus Manchester United and blue versus red. That’s conflict. COPA90 took a view a totally different view. It was more about how fans have similarities. And that’s what I really loved. I loved the values that the company had. About a year and half ago, they brought me in and said, “We need you to integrate the women’s game into what we do. Whatever resources you need, we’ll help you.” So I started working with the strategy team to try to figure out: What’s our proposition? What’s our tone of voice? How do we see the women’s game? And we came up with a cool strategy for how to rebrand women’s football. FEED: What specific steps is COPA90 taking to rebrand the game? BEX SMITH: We had to look internally and see how we, as a company, buy into that strategy. It’s all well and good that we’re putting it out on our platforms, but internally you need the company to understand and really live by that culture. I started sitting with the different parts of the business, asking how we ensure that operationally or systemically we include women’s football. What are the KPIs that are relevant, but are also not jarring? We had a 91% male, very young fan base when I started – we don’t want to suddenly say everything has to be 50% women’s football. FEED: What did you like about COPA90?


We knew we had an opportunity during the World Cup to make an impact and plant our flag, so we set up clubhouses. We had a physical space in Paris, near the Pompidou, that had different activations for the entire month, and the last week we moved it to Lyon where all the matches were. We had an art exhibition. We did a photography exhibition with Goal Click, which is a project that sends disposable cameras to players so they can document their own stories. We had a fashion show. We also had a music night with an awesome DJ named Krystal Roxx who has her own company, Superfoxx, which promotes other female DJs. We had three of the biggest players – Abby Wambach, Ada Hegerberg and Nadia Nadim – and did three big content pieces on them.

We also screened all the matches, so people who come to the clubhouse could watch every single match of the World Cup. We also worked with FIFA, we did their daily women’s football show. So there was this all-the-time buzz. We wanted to create a hub where you don’t have to watch the matches or like women’s football or say you’re a fan. Just come hang out. We wanted to offer as many excuses as possible to try to get as many sorts of fans involved as possible and build a community on the ground. FEED: How has the uptake of women’s football changed? BEX SMITH: We did a data piece. Metrics for the digital space can be quite black and

feedzinesocial feedmagazine.tv

Powered by