My Media Week: James Kirkham, Copa90
A view from Hayley Pinkerfield

My Media Week: James Kirkham, Copa90

We join James Kirkham in his new post as head of Copa90, gearing up for expansion, championing disruptive football content and sampling the odd beer...

Monday

The week begins at 5am, as I find the early morning solace perfect for optimum thinking or writing. Everything is geared towards me making Copa90 the best workplace in the UK right now. I wake up my football obsessed six-year-old, Jax, just before 7am, make his breakfast and we talk about the day ahead. His little brain amazes me and we might often discuss the inner depths of the German Bundesliga or a lower tier Spanish club's transfer policy all before 7.30am. 

Mondays are brilliant for me in Copa90 as they are the time I sit down with Poet and Vuj, the stars of FIFA & Chill and Comments Below. They’re a hive of energy and the living breathing embodiment of the generation of fans disaffected by the old way of ‘doing’ football. I try and be cool but get shown up by my distinct lack of grime music knowhow.

We have a Monday ‘Euro Hit Squad’ session every week right now, ensuring we’re going to be ready and prepared for the forthcoming European Championships in France. With so much going on in and around the tournament, this is an essential early planning session for us all. I get us sufficiently hyped for the session via twelve tangerines and a box of Jaffa cakes.

Monday’s normally end with a Skype call with Ross Whitlow Williams, the head of Kick TV in New York City. It is smaller than Copa90 and I try to bring as much of my global experience to bear ensuring we feel like one big family. 

Tuesday

A young shooter editor in the office comes up and shows me what he shot on his phone last night. On it is 360 virtual reality footage filmed in an Amsterdam underpass with hundreds of Ajax ultras. He is humble and asks genuinely if we should share it. It is incredible, we put it straight out and it reminds me that half of these brilliant young people don’t know how good they are.

I roll straight into a coffee meeting with my long-term friend and chief executive of Bigballs Media, Tom Thirlwall, about our global expansion. Tom is a rare mix of humility, strategic excellence and one of the nicest chief execs on the planet. Our coffee runs dry as we discuss our impending transatlantic double header presentation for Contagious’ Now Next Why.

I get a call from a hugely popular football TV show requesting to use one of our content pieces which went viral yesterday on their show this weekend. Happy to oblige, along with the necessary credits of course. Old media playing to our rules is the mantra in the office and this sort of halo of our work only helps.

Meeting with Glenn Cooper from Island Records, and discuss using roster artists on some of our future content pieces. He brings in his new Island IPA craft beer too and encourages me to taste it. Immediately consider ordering 12 crates of the stuff.

Wednesday 

Meet the guys at Google Zoo who seem to know more about Copa90 than I do, then agree to go back in and present to the wider team next Friday as part of one of their Petra Kucha sessions.

Director of marketing Phil Mitchelson takes me through the latest idea from the product of his madcap mind. His tabloid background mean he gets big exciting disruptive ideas more than most, and this is no exception - involving paint, fire and penalties. Absurd and possibly brilliant. 

My afternoon meeting with Hanna Bergen is a pleasure, once my PA and now running operations here. She runs me through a list of cultural pointers, with everything on the list aimed to further the efficiency of the place during growth, whilst retaining the incredible spirit. No easy job.

Meeting with Disrupt, an exciting new breed agency who are more promotors and cultural influencers than advertising. Their youthful exuberance makes me feel old, so I try and thieve some of their spirit. Can’t wait to work with them on a big summer partnership with one of their rising You Tube stars. Talking of summer, have a great call with the marketing director at Ibiza Rocks as we plot a potential coming together. Their artist line up this year is staggering, and I figured what better time for us to work out something special than with the backdrop of the Euros and the Balearic sunshine. Yes please.

As I leave for the day, Copa90 is just warming up for another epic Champions League night. It means Pizza Pilgrims gets dialled up early, beers broken out and loads of live tweeting gets underway.

Thursday

Farringdon’s infamous Chop House has the most incredible bacon sandwich special on a Thursday morning, so we decided to award any early starters with a sarnie when they get in. Upon collecting the pork treats last week, our receptionist overheard a man in the street outside laughing about how "a local company bought 50 last week!". Copa90: proudly supporting Clerkenwell’s independent traders.

We pitch to be the complete football partner to a brand looking to activate content, media and talent around this summer's Euros. It goes well, and reminds me why it is such a pleasure running this modern media network versus the more traditional ‘agency’ role. Predicated on authenticity, and being the true embodiment of fan culture.

Conference call with a major messenger platform and our development team as we look to pilot on demand content in messaging eco-systems. Unquestionably the future of fan communication around sports.

Friday

Friday at Copa90 arrives. The morning disappears into a blur, then thoughts wander to a pub lunch reward.

The Eagle on Farringdon Road feels like a home from home; One of my first offices back in the early noughties was next door and the steak sandwich still tastes every bit as good 12 years later. 

We close Fridays at 5pm with me hosting a company comms meeting, called ‘beer and pancakes’. It is where we get our NYC Kick TV squad on the big screen too and I call people out, make bad jokes, but most importantly take time to share the absolute brilliance that people have been crafting all week long. Week dissolves into weekend via laughter, drunken games of FIFA and absurd looking cocktails from our in-house tiki bar.

The Lowdown

Age: 38
Family: Married to Katy, dad of a six-year-old boy, Jax 
Favourite media: The Week, Instagram
Biggest inspiration: Elon Musk 
Dream job:  Running the world’s most exciting football channel. Wait a sec…
Not a lot of people know this about me: I trained in a Muay Thai training camp for two consecutive years on Koh Phangan 

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