COPA90 have appointed former Plum Pictures Head of Development Dan Lewis as the Creative Director of the newly formed COPA90 Studios and announce a strategic partnership with award winning documentary film maker Evan Rosenfeld.
COPA90 Studios is a new original content studio specialising in high-end, sports-related entertainment.
It has been born directly from the success of the COPA90 brand that, for the last decade, has been at the forefront of a revolutionary approach to fan-first football content that has transformed the way the game is covered by traditional media - culminating in winning ‘Media Company of the Year’ at the British Media Awards in 2022.
A foundation of unprecedented access, inimitable authenticity and an unrivalled, deeper understanding of the global power and deeper meaning of sports provides COPA90 Studios an unprecedented platform from which it can create high-end sports content that connects, inspires and entertains audiences across the world.
Dan Lewis joins COPA90 Chief Operating Officer and co-founder Ross Whittow-Williams as part of the team heading up the new business unit with Whittow-Williams taking on operational and strategic responsibility.
Whittow-Williams says: “From All or Nothing to Ted Lasso, the last few years has seen an unprecedented surge in premium, cross-genre football-adjacent programming driven, in part, by the ambitions of entertainment providers to reach and engage global audiences by tapping into their biggest passions. But the reality is that producers are yet to even scratch the surface in terms of harnessing the power and unlocking the potential that the world’s biggest passion represents as a jumping off point for storytelling and entertainment.”
Lewis’ experience spans the world of entertainment, unscripted and sport and spent 12 years at Plum Pictures, creating Nat Geo’s epic Race to the Center of the Earth and James May: The Reassembler along with an up-and-coming Channel 4 Digital comedy format series and a luxury property travel show for Paramount+.
Lewis comments: “Having been a fan of COPA90 for some time, I couldn’t be more excited to join the team and build upon their already impressive reputation as a distinctive and respected voice within sports media. Over the last decade they have achieved huge success across a multitude of platforms, which gives COPA90 Studios a unique position in the market having amassed incredible access to world renowned sporting talent and sporting institutions.
Now, COPA90 Studios will cultivate that access and trust to create quality programming across all genres - from high end documentaries through to factual and entertainment. The idea of focusing purely on sports related programming gives us a huge opportunity within the industry and I look forward to utilising COPA90’s unrivalled reputation and taking our ideas to the UK broadcasters, US networks and international streamers.”
Lewis is also responsible for developing Channel 4’s hit series Johnny Vegas: Carry on Glamping and producing shows such as Cristiano Ronaldo meets Piers Morgan, Wayne Rooney’s Street Striker and James May’s Toy Stories.
A Premium Documentary slate built in partnership with Emmy® nominated and US based film-maker Evan Rosenfeld will focus on returning series, limited series and feature docs about unseen characters and untold stories from the world of football and is currently in-market with an as-yet unannounced project set to enter production in August.
Rosenfeld explains: “As an admirer of their work for many years, this partnership with COPA90 is exciting and has incredible potential. The stories surrounding the game of football come with a deeper and more interesting history than American sports, which makes for compelling content with a high level of emotion and stakes built in. Add to that an explosion of interest in football here in the US and I see an expanding market and a big opportunity. Working with COPA90, we are uniquely situated in the world of football to find and unlock these stories in the premium documentary space unlike anybody else.”
Evan Rosenfeld is an award-winning creator, producer and director who has been at the forefront of sports documentary filmmaking for the last 15 years, beginning with producing two of ESPN’s most successful 30 for 30 films, The U and Broke. Evan has worked with some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment, from LeBron James (Warriors of Liberty City) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Kareem: Minority of One), to Peter Berg and Adam McKay.
Rosenfeld was the Showrunner and EP of VICE World of Sports, which won the Outstanding Sports Program honour at the 2017 Producers Guild Awards and received an Emmy® nomination in 2018 for Best Sports Documentary. His series, Rainn Wilson & the Geography of Bliss is currently in production and is slated to air in 2023 on Peacock. He was recently honoured as one of DOC NYC’s “40 Under 40” emerging talents in the documentary world.
Whittow-Williams concludes: “COPA90 Studios is a natural evolution of our deep heritage in content creation where we’ve built a globally recognised brand around innovative formats and storytelling. Combining our unparalleled insight of, and connections to, the global football community with industry leading creative talent like Dan Lewis and preeminent film makers like Evan Rosenfeld gives us a unique development engine from which we can source, create and produce content that will set a new bar in sports-adjacent programming. Our extensive network of creators across every continent that we have been working with since 2015 is a competitive
advantage – allowing us to tap into a rich mine of incredible stories that are as-yet untold.”
Versions of this announcement appeared in Broadcast and Deadline.