Kasper Kronenberg is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of offthepitch.com, a digital business providing football business journalism and football finance intelligence. Publishing industry stories from across Europe, Kasper is proud to say that offthepitch.com targets a quality over quantity approach to news reporting.
With his extensive experience in business journalism, combined with a passion for the football industry, Kasper - along with CEO Mads and investors Morten and Søren – has many plans for offthepitch.com‘s development. In this interview, Kasper discusses several areas of his career, including his background in journalism, how the idea of Off The Pitch came to life and what key features he believes makes a great writing piece.
In my younger years as a student at The Danish School of Journalism, my interest was to pursue a career as a sports journalist. However, I was offered an internship at Borsen, which is the Danish equivalent of the Financial Times. I was instantly blown away by the world of business and what I really like about this industry, is the fact that things are always measurable; you can always see if a company is growing faster or slower than its competitors, or if their earning can keep pace. I have been working in this area for 20 years now and I absolutely love it. I think I will continue working in the world of business reporting for another 20 years!
In 2010, I was hired to be a part of the team that started finanswatch.dk – a specialised media business - writing about financial institutions in Denmark. It was a big success and we ended up in a core position in the market. Earnings for the company were also really promising. This success gave me the idea to start a niche media company on a global scale and I was lucky to meet Mads, our CEO, in 2017. Mads was also keen to build our own company and after securing funding for the project, we started offthepitch.com. We offer two services: financial data and intelligence to executive teams in and around global football clubs and business reporting regarding the industry of football.
I would say that no matter what you are writing about, whether it is sports, business, technology etc., the most important thing is to be curious; you should have a fire within yourself to want to understand the dynamics of the industry that you cover. You also want to learn about the excellent companies that exist in the industry and what they do differently in order to outperform their competitors. I still find that element extremely fascinating.
That is a tough question because I think what works in one company, doesn’t necessarily work in another. But you always need to consider two key things when you work in journalism: what is the core need of your target group and how do you help them with that need? Within that research process, you will probably find a number of things that your target group need but you can’t help them with it all. Therefore, you need to find out the core need that they have and how, as a media-outlet, you can provide them with a product that is very hard for others to copy.
For us as a media business, it is very much about getting the facts right. As I said earlier, the element I really like about business journalism is that you can always get a sense of whether a business is on track or not. You need to look at the financial data, compare them to other companies in the industry and then instantly, you have a very clear picture.
At offthepitch.com, a great writing piece would inspire other executives in the industry. After reading the piece they would think, ‘Maybe we should look into this a little more?’ or, ‘Maybe we are not as good as we thought so what can we do?’ If we can provide such thinking and inspiration, I will be happy, whether that is on strategy, revenue-streams; fan-engagement; society-work; ownership governance etc.
We feel we have only just started this journey but we have quickly learned how global this industry truly is. With that said, we have identified a number of opportunities to invest in and improve our current product offering. To be honest though, we haven’t decided anything specific at this stage because we are trying to be better at what we are currently doing; to maximize those services. But we see major potential to do even more within financial intelligence and business journalism in the football industry; we expect many things to happen within the next 3-5 years.
It makes me really happy when we engage with new reporters around the world and they show us and our readers how skillful they are. What we like to offer our subscribers is quality instead of quantity, so reporters may consider us as pretty demanding in terms of what we like and don’t like.
A lot of work takes place in our editorial systems before we publish and to be honest, some of that work can be a little bit boring for a person like me. The most difficult part though, is to find enough hours during the day to work, as there are so many things in this industry that we like to cover.
Starting offthepitch.com. To build a business from scratch with Mads, our investors Morten and Søren, and all of our colleagues, is a brilliant feeling. To see it grow and find its place in the market has been equally as brilliant. When our subscribers tell us that our newsletter is the first thing they read every morning and the fact that we have not lost a single subscriber yet, fills me with pride and energy to keep going.
We started our company with the intention that this is going to be for the long-term and so for me, this is a lifetime project. We feel we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in this market and so we will continue to develop offtepitch.com for many, many more years.
Footnote: For anyone interested in Football Business, we strongly recommend checking out Off The Pitch for the latest football business news. If you're really keen, try out their Club Comparison Tool.
Editor & Content Researcher: Sascha Gustard-Brown
Sascha is highly experienced within the area of Supporter Engagement, having held the positions of Head of Supporter Engagement at Luton Town Football Club and Supporter Liaison Officer at West Ham United. She is currently working on small supporter engagement projects in sport and freelance writing in football.