Fan Controlled Football (FCF) is a professional Indoor football league created in 2017 as the first sports league controlled by fans. All games are played at the Pullman Yards in Atlanta, Georgia and broadcast on Twitch, NBCLX, DAZN, FuboTV and Peacock.
|Current season, competition or edition:|
2022 Fan Controlled Football season
|No. of teams||8|
|Most titles||Wild Aces, Zappers (1st title)|
|TV partner(s)||Twitch, VENN, DAZN NBCLX, and Peacock|
|Indoor Football League|
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.
Players are paid weekly minimum of $400 plus room and board, while coaches get paid $3,500 per month with housing and meal plan with one team, Bored Ape Football Club, offering a match bonus equivalent to $1,000 in cryptocurrency $APE to franchise tagged players. FCF CEO Sohrob Farudi confirmed in March 2021 that the league planned to play two seasons a year, one in the spring and one in the fall, and has plans to expand to 20 teams by year five.
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. 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. The project ultimately failed when purchasing an existing team proved to carry too much debt. 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.
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. 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". Project Fanchise CEO Sohrob Farudi confirmed that the Screaming Eagles and Crush would finish the 2017 season. 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), before settling on Fan Controlled Football in November 2017. 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. 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. 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 and additional team owners including Mike Tyson, Miro, Trevor May, Quavo, Greg Miller, Deestroying, and Bob Menery. In 2020, the league had re-branded once again as Fan Controlled Football (FCF).
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. 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. John Jenkins and Shawn Liotta served as coaching consultants for the league, with Jenkins having a prominent on-air role during FCF telecasts.
The FCF's second season, nicknamed "Season v.2.0" by the league, was scheduled to begin in fall 2021 but was postponed to Spring 2022 to follow after the NFL's Super Bowl. 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. 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. 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. Ahead of the 2022 season, the league began construction on a 1,500-seat arena at Pullman Yard in Atlanta, Georgia. 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. 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. He would later be traded to the Knights of Degen. On May 20, it was reported that Michael Vick will join him in the league, but that never came to fruition.
|Beasts||2020||Marshawn Lynch, Todd Gurley, Miro, Marcus Peters, and Renee Montgomery|
|Glacier Boyz||Richard Sherman, Quavo, Deestroying, and Adin Ross|
|Zappers||Trevor May, Dalvin Cook, Bob Menery, and Ronnie 2k|
|8oki Football Club||2022||Steve Aoki and 888 Crypto.|
|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|
|Bored Ape Football Club||Lyndsey Byrnes, beijingdou (Josh Ong), JerseyBorn (Sean Semola), tropoFarmer, and ElectionDayMad1, and KingKhah (AJ Khah)|
|Kingpins||Jamal Anderson, SPOTTIE WIFI, Dr. Leo DiCatrio (Cory Teer), and ABigThingBadly|
|Shoulda Been Stars||Austin Ekeler, Rachel Lindsay, Druski and Altered State Machines.|
|2021||Wild Aces||Glacier Boyz||46–40|
|2022||Zappers||Bored Ape Football Club||42–24|