U.K.-based global soccer network Copa90 gives the sport a stage beyond the Premier League action. Now with just shy of 40 editorial staff in the U.K., every story the publisher tells, from planning to execution, is done with a focus on fan culture.
“The young football fan has grown up in a world of billionaire owners, rising ticket prices and huge TV deals,” said Michael Timbs, social content creator for Copa90. “The fans are being overlooked and underappreciated, and football is nothing without its fans.”
To that end, Copa90 produces content for YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter as well as their own website. Which means Timbs, the social media voice of Copa90, spends his days talking to its 10 million social media followers. Increasingly, this plays out on Snapchat, where it has amassed 50,000 followers in the 10 months it’s been on the platform.
“It’s where our core audience of 15- to 25-years-olds are most present and we can get the most authentic conversations,” he told Digiday.
We sat down with Timbs and dug into what an average day at the football-focused media house looks like.
6:30 a.m.: It’s a Monday, which means I cut short the usual 7:30 wake-up by an hour. A quick 10 minute half-snoozing/half-conscious glance at the Snapchat stories and Instagram uploads that happened overnight (my mates are in Cancun for spring break *sigh*). The guys at KICKTV, who head up our New York office, have sent us a “While You Were Sleeping” report. It turns out we slept through some epic opening day Major League Soccer action.
6:50 a.m.: By now, I’m all caught up, and it’s gym gear on. A satsuma in one pocket, banana in the other, I’m out the door by 7 a.m. It’s a five minute walk to the tube station, so I sneak in an ‘It’s Monday morning’ tweet. A GIF of Ronaldo crying will do the trick.
8:50 a.m.: I’m out of the gym and off to Old Street to where we film “Comments Below,” our weekly football talk show where our presenters, Poet and Vuj, react to the comments left by our audience over the previous week on YouTube and Twitter. The show has been running for almost four years now.
9:15 a.m.: I arrive, and the first thing I see is Poet dancing with headphones. Time to take to Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram asking the #CopaFam (what our audience call themselves) for any questions for the boys to answer. There is plenty to talk about after an epic weekend of football; Poet’s Arsenal got embarrassed 3-2 by Man United and Liverpool lost the Capital One Cup Final. Not a good weekend for them. Unsurprisingly, the Snapchat responses come flooding in.
11:30 a.m.: I get back to the office, and it is absolutely buzzing. Phil, my marketing director, has roped me into one of his creative Sharpie-sessions. On the agenda today: fireball penalties (a feature we’re planning with a Hollywood stunt team, three world-class football freestylers and flaming footballs) and zero-gravity football (investigating how feasible it is to play a game in zero gravity in a parabolic flying plane). He also kindly reminds me I’ve got a script to do.
Noon: I’ve got the midday social check-in to catch up on what the Copa90 editorial team have planned for the day, and to see how we can fit “Comments Below” activity around it. In between cutting native “Comments Below” videos for Facebook, I’ve got to write a script for our Top 10 North London Derby Moments video, which will go out on YouTube and Facebook, and write an article on “How the Internet Reacted” after Liverpool forward Christian Benteke’s last-minute penalty that Vuj aptly described as “scenes.”
12:20 p.m.: I pass Snapchat over to some of our presenters who are in the office planning a secret project on how to send shockwaves and unite disenfranchised young fans at the 2016 Euros. The fans are constantly shouldering the burden with little to no additional benefits. I challenged the presenters to create a giveaway on Snapchat whilst I’m away at lunch. I returned to this.
1 p.m.: Our Snapchat giveaway Story already has 500 entries, all screen grabbed and pushed to us on Twitter, driving entries from one platform to another. It just goes to show that Snapchat is as much about the engagement as it is the content. We pepper our stories with questions and calls-to-action to make sure we retain a consistent push-and-pull dialogue.
1:45 p.m.: I’ve cut down the video “What’s happened since Eden Hazard last scored” and posted it Instagram and Facebook. My editor and I have started making specific videos for each platform, making sure it’s all about content in context, fiddling with time, graphics, dimensions, optimizing our content based on each platform and treating each as it’s own. Finally, I can crack on with the script. Nope, wait, according the Whatsapp team, Bayern Munich player Thomas Muller has just done something hilarious in training. Time to make an article of his funniest moments.
3:15 p.m.: One of our editors has told me that the first cut of Comments Below is ready — we’ve just about hit the usual four-hour turnaround, which is always hectic. There are still a few tweaks to make, but we should be good to go for a 6 p.m. upload.
By 6 p.m., some of the early birds are getting ready to go home, but we are just getting started.
6:30 p.m.: One final look at Comments Below, and it’s ready to post to YouTube. The video is bagged and tagged by 7 p.m., which means another 10 minutes pushing and scheduling the video on all social channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat.
But now it’s “FIFA and Chill” time — our brand-new series where we sit down with youth icons and personalities to have a chat and a laugh over a game of EA Sports’ FIFA. Previously, we’ve chilled with rapper Stormzy, Arsenal forward Theo Walcott and AFC Wimbledon striker Adebayo Akinfenwa. This week,we are waiting on hip-hop duo Krept and Konan to turn up after Poet and Vuj challenged them to a 2-on-2.
8:30 p.m.: Krept and Konan arrive. We’ve cracked open the beers, laid out the snacks; this isn’t a normal interview. Snapchat and Twitter at the ready, cameras rolling, it’s time for “FIFA and Chill”.
9:30 p.m.: We’ve finished the shoot with Krept and Konan. It has been a long day, so we’ve got to finish it properly. A game of FIFA between myself and my director, Giles. He wins on penalties after we drew 2-2 in normal time. Time to go with my tail between my legs. It’s a 45-minute commute door-to-door, so I pop The Times’ “Game” podcast on and know I’ll be hearing Marcotti and his guests saying their goodbyes as I walk through my front door.
Roll on tomorrow.