Fan Controlled Football
Most recent season or competition:
2022 Fan Controlled Football season
SportIndoor football
Founded2017
FounderFANchise, LLC
Inaugural season2021
Owner(s)Fan Controlled Sports and Entertainment
CEOSohrob Farudi
CommissionerRay Austin
No. of teams8
CountryUnited States
Venue(s)Pullman Yards
Most recent
champion(s)
Zappers
(2022)
Most titlesWild Aces, Zappers (one title)
TV partner(s)Twitch, VENN, DAZN LX, and Peacock
Related
competitions
IFL
Official websiteFCF.io

Fan Controlled Football (FCF) is a dormant professional 7-on-7 indoor football league that played two seasons in 2021 and 2022. The league operated on the premise of fans voting on play calls and other in-game events.[1][2] All games were played at the Pullman Yards in Atlanta, Georgia and broadcast on streaming television. The league plans to return in 2024.[3]

It was created by Project Fanchise, who established the first fan-controlled professional sports franchise, the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, and operated the Colorado Crush to play in the Indoor Football League in 2017 before Fanchise pulled both teams out of the league.[4]

Active roster players were paid weekly $400 (before taxes) plus room and board, while coaches were paid $3,500 per month with housing and meal plan.[5]

History

Origins

The idea, then known as Project Fanchise, was covered by The New York Times with the business concept of a fan-controlled baseball team in 2008, but was written as satirical piece by comedian Steve Hofstetter.[6] At the time, the project was just a website created by Grant Cohen with investors consisting of lawyers such as Joe Scura. In 2010, a GOOD Magazine article described the group's business plan, including asking fans to invest in creating or purchasing a minor league baseball team to become publicly owned and operated.[7] The project ultimately failed when purchasing an existing team proved to carry too much debt.[8] In June 2015, an Arena Football League team minority owner, Sohrob Farudi, read about the dead project and contacted Cohen about restarting the concept as Project Fanchise.[8]

In April 2016, Project Fanchise purchased an expansion team in the Indoor Football League for the 2017 season. The group created a mobile app for subscribed fans to vote on naming the team, chose its colors, and hire a coach before the season started. The team became the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, and when the team began to play, the fans chose plays for the team to run.[9] The experience successfully proved the concept of fans controlling the team, but it did not equate to success on the field finishing with a 5–11 record. Fanchise had also acquired the Colorado Crush just prior to the start of the season but did not implement the system at that time. On April 20, 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported that Project Fanchise was planning on launching a new league called the "Interactive Football League".[10] Project Fanchise CEO Sohrob Farudi confirmed that the Screaming Eagles and Crush would finish the 2017 season.[11] Project Fanchise folded both teams after the season and began the process to create the new league.

After a few months of being known as the Interactive Football League, it rebranded as the Electronic Football League (eFL),[12] before settling on Fan Controlled Football in November 2017.[11] The league planned to play all of its games in only one city with eight new teams. All games would be played in one location, Las Vegas, with fans calling plays while watching on-line via Twitch.[11] The initial start date was for the 2018 season but was postponed. It has since garnered the backing of professional athletes including former and current NFL players Chad Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, and Richard Sherman.[13] The league then gained backing by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Verizon Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Basecamp 2, Next10 Ventures, Bleacher Report co-founder Dave Finnocchio and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian[14] and additional team owners including Mike Tyson, Miro, Trevor May, Quavo,[15] Greg Miller, Deestroying, and Bob Menery.[16] In 2020, the league had re-branded once again as Fan Controlled Football (FCF).

2021 season

Main article: 2021 Fan Controlled Football season

The league began its inaugural season in February 2021. The FCF began play on February 13, 2021, with four teams competing in a 12-game-format over six weeks. The league uses Internet streaming as its main television platform and is streamed on Twitch and VENN on Saturdays, with reruns on FTF; the league championship is carried on the digital subchannel network LX. The FCF saw a steady increase in its viewership through its first five weeks, from 735,000 in the first week to 2.1 million in the playoffs.[17] John Jenkins and Shawn Liotta served as coaching consultants for the league, with Jenkins having a prominent on-air role during FCF telecasts.[18]

The Wild Aces beat the Glacier Boyz 46–40 in the final, named the People's Championship as voted by the fans, on March 20, 2021. At the end of the 2021 season, Farudi stated that the league planned to play two seasons a year, one in the spring and one in the fall,[19] and was planning to expand to 20 teams by year five.[20]

2022 season

Main article: 2022 Fan Controlled Football season

The FCF's second season, nicknamed "Season v.2.0" by the league, was scheduled to begin in fall 2021[21] but was postponed to Spring 2022 to follow after the NFL's Super Bowl.[22] The league announced they were expanding to eight teams for the 2022 season and announced a new broadcast deal with NBCUniversal subsidiary NBCLX and Peacock to broadcast every game of the 2022 season.[23][24] In October 2021, the FCF announced the Ballerz Collective and two of the four expansion teams, Team KoD and Team 8oki, later to be given names.[25] The final two expansion teams were announced on January 12, 2022, Team Gutter Cats, and Team Bored Apes, also later to be given names. The defending champion Wild Aces reorganized and rebranded as the Shoulda Been Stars following the departure of one of its co-owners.

On January 12, 2022, the FCF announced a $40 million investment, led by Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital, for spectator-controlled football games.[26] Ahead of the 2022 season, the league began construction on a 1,500-seat arena at Pullman Yard in Atlanta, Georgia.[27] The second season, dubbed "Season v2.0", began on April 16, thus putting FCF in direct competition with the 2022 USFL season that launched on the same night.[28][29] Before the start of the season, it was announced that Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens, age 48, will come out of retirement to play for the Zappers.[30] He would later be traded to the Knights of Degen.[31] On May 20, it was reported that Michael Vick will join him in the league,[32] but he later denied those rumors.[33] In the championship game the Zappers would beat the Bored Ape FC to win the 2022 FCF Championship.

2023 cancelled season

In February 2023 the league announced the postponement of the 2023 season with intent of adapting the Fan Controlled concept to basketball.[34] In June, Farudi granted an interview to Sports Business Journal stating that it was pausing the league for the time being due to a loss of capital funding that hit the company in late 2022, as most of its funding was tied to the cryptocurrency bubble; the company will remain active as Fan Controlled Sports & Entertainment with the intention of licensing their intellectual property and technology to other leagues, in the hopes that the league could be revived if buyers could be found for each of the league's eight teams. Farudi noted that he had brought on Jerry Kurz, a former Arena Football League executive, to lead the efforts to find franchise owners.[35]

In December, 2023 it was reported that the league plans to return in 2024. This time the FCF plans to play in several locations, with six-to-eight teams for the v3.0 Season, and aim to expand to 20 teams within the next five years.[3] According to the report, a formal announcement is expected in the first quarter (Q1) of 2024.[3]

Rules

Source:[36]

Teams

Team[38][39] Colors Joined Owners
Beasts     2021 Marshawn Lynch, Todd Gurley, Miro, Marcus Peters, and Renee Montgomery[40]
Glacier Boyz     Richard Sherman, Quavo, Deestroying, and formerly Adin Ross[41]
Zappers     Trevor May, Dalvin Cook, Bob Menery, and Ronnie 2k[42]
8oki     2022 Steve Aoki and 888 Crypto.[43]
Knights of Degen     Drew Austin, Jack Settleman, Tiki Barber, Ronde Barber, Cynthia Frelund, Blake Jamieson, Shara Senderoff, Mike O'Day, Jared Augustine, and Jasmine Maetta[43]
Bored Ape Football Club     Lyndsey Byrnes, beijingdou (Josh Ong), JerseyBorn (Sean Semola), tropoFarmer, ElectionDayMad1 and KingKhah (AJ Khah)
Kingpins     Jamal Anderson, SPOTTIE WIFI, Dr. Leo DiCatrio (Cory Teer), and ABigThingBadly[43]
Shoulda Been Stars (originally the Wild Aces)     2021 Austin Ekeler, Rachel Lindsay, Druski, and Altered State Machines.[44]

Announced future teams

Ownership Joining in
Flare DAO TBD
IBM Watson TBD

Champions

People's Championships
Game Winner Runner Up Score
v1.0 Wild Aces Glacier Boyz 46–40
v2.0 Zappers Bored Ape FC 42–24

Awards

Year Award Category Result
2023 Sports Emmy Outstanding Interactive Experience - Event Coverage Nominated[45]
2023 Sports Emmy Outstanding Digital Innovations Nominated[45]

References

  1. ^ "Rule Book". Attach.io. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  2. ^ "eFL Official Website". eFL. Archived from the original on November 15, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Exclusive: Fan Controlled Football Returns for Season v3.0 Summer 2024, Full Details". xflnewshub.com.
  4. ^ "Andy Dolich; The time is now for fan-controlled sport". 28 September 2020.
  5. ^ "Fan Controlled Football league salary: How much do the players get paid?". 12 August 2021.
  6. ^ Hofstetter, Steve (March 16, 2008). "The Ultimate Fan Fantasy: Owning a Piece of the Rock". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Swaminathan, Nikhil (2008-08-07). "Go Team - Issue 012 - GOOD". Good.is. Archived from the original on November 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
  8. ^ a b "A tech startup plans a revolution with the first fan-run sports franchise". CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  9. ^ Flynn, Erin (June 6, 2016). "Project FANchise: Behind the fan-run football team". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  10. ^ "How Can Football Video Games Get More Realistic? Real Humans". The Wall Street Journal. April 17, 2017. Archived from the original on April 21, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c "Are You Ready for Some (Fan-Controlled) Football?". The Washington Post. October 16, 2019. Archived from the original on October 16, 2019.
  12. ^ "Hello World – Introducing the eFL and the FAN Token". Electronic Football League. October 11, 2017.
  13. ^ Rob Goldberg (March 6, 2019). "Chad Johnson Joins Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman in FCFL as a Team Owner". Bleacher Report.
  14. ^ "Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler is now a team owner in the Fan Controlled Football League". 19 November 2020.
  15. ^ "Quavo Announced as Newest Investor of Fan Controlled Football". Yahoo Sports. September 22, 2020.
  16. ^ "I Blinked And Now Bob Menery Owns A Football Team". Pro Sports Extra. December 18, 2020.
  17. ^ Williams, Randall (March 19, 2021). "Fan Controlled Football League Sees Growth, Eyes Expansion in Year Two".
  18. ^ "Digital Exclusive- Local coach helps bring interactive football to fans". 31 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Details on FCF Season v2.0!". FCF Owners Box. Archived from the original on 2021-03-22. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  20. ^ "Fan Controlled Football League Sees Growth, Eyes Expansion in Year Two". 19 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Details on FCF Season v2.0!". FCF Owners Box. Archived from the original on 2021-03-22. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  22. ^ Werner, Barry (2021-10-07). "Fan Controlled Football returning for 2nd season, has deal with NBCLX". Touchdown Wire. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  23. ^ "Fan Controlled Football Prepares for Second Season With More Teams, Linear Distribution". 7 October 2021. Retrieved 2021-10-07.
  24. ^ "FCF is Back for Season v2.0 – FCF NEWS". Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  25. ^ "FCF Unveils the Ballerz Collective – FCF NEWS". Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  26. ^ "Fan Controlled Football raises $40M for spectator-controlled football games". 12 January 2022.
  27. ^ Rachuk, Stephan (February 2, 2022). "PR: Fan Controlled Football Announces Historic Pullman Yards as New Official Venue for Season v2.0". XFL Newsroom. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  28. ^ @fcflio (January 6, 2022). "ONE HUNDRED DAYS" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  29. ^ "USFL Officially Selling Tickets for Inaugural Game, Starting at $10". 25 January 2022.
  30. ^ "Terrell Owens Officially Returning To Football Field, Joins FCF". 6 April 2022.
  31. ^ "Terrell Owens — who is 48 — just got traded in the Fan Controlled Football league". 12 May 2022.
  32. ^ Pingue, Frank (20 May 2022). "Exclusive: Former NFL quarterback Vick coming out of retirement". Reuters.
  33. ^ "Former NFL QB Michael Vick Shoots Down FCF Rumors, Says He Will Stay Retired". Bleacher Report.
  34. ^ "Fan Controlled Sports Announces Changes To 2023 Schedule, FCF Moves To Fall of 2023". xflnewshub.com.
  35. ^ "Operator of Fan Controlled Football League plans to license software and move to franchise model". xflnewshub.com.
  36. ^ "Fan Controlled Football is where FANS call the shots".
  37. ^ Gavin, Mike (May 11, 2022). "T.O. traded in Fan Controlled Football after fans approve deal". NBC Sports Bay Area. Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  38. ^ Lind, Andrew (November 12, 2020). "Fan Controlled Football League Chooses Team Names, Solicits Logo Submissions".
  39. ^ "Fan Controlled Football League Announces Fan-Chosen Team Names". www.sportsbusinessjournal.com. November 13, 2020.
  40. ^ "Beasts Team Details". FCF. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  41. ^ "Glacier Boyz Team Details". FCF. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  42. ^ "Zappers Team Details". FCF. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  43. ^ a b c "Fan Controlled Football is where FANS call the shots". FCF. Retrieved 2022-01-12.
  44. ^ "Should Been Stars Team Details". FCF. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  45. ^ a b "Announcing the 44th Annual Sports Emmy® Nominees! – The Emmys". theemmys.tv. Retrieved 2023-04-12.