Alternative sports organization Fan Controlled Football (FCF) has raised $40 million in Series A funding from crypto and blockchain gaming companies to support the league’s expansion plans, including four new teams and an NFT project.
FCF was founded in 2017 by Sohrob Farudi, Patrick Dees, Ray Austin and Grant Cohen, and hosted its inaugural season in Atlanta’s bubble environment during the pandemic last year. FCF offers an indoor version of American football in a 7-on-7 format, with the game live on Twitch.
The league is unique in that teams are run by fans, who have a vote on everything from player acquisitions, games in games, branding and team selection. For the upcoming season, NFTs will play a key role in the voting process for half of the teams.
The $40 million Series A round was led by NFT and crypto companies Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital. The funding will be used to expand the league from four to eight teams in the 2022 season, while launching an NFT called “The Ballerz Collection.”
All four new teams are owned by figures associated with the NFT project, with the Bored Apes and Gutter Cats teams following the Knights of Degen and the 80KI team (by DJ and NFT backers Steve Aoki) Oct.
FCF is rolling out 8,888 Ballerz NFT avatars for each new team that fans can snap up and get voting rights for their team. The rarity and value of NFTs will vary, with more expensive tokens offering greater benefits such as enhanced voting rights, exclusive content and game tickets.
Any existing Bored Ape Yacht Club or Gutter Cat NFT holders who purchase tokens corresponding to those teams will also receive a 50% discount on Ballerz NFT purchases. NFTs are set to drop later this month, and the public minting cost of each token will be 0.1776 ether (ETH) or roughly $580.
“One of the most powerful things tokenization does is unleash the energy of fans into tangible forms of value and meaning, and we’re seeing this effect in NFTs and social tokens.”
He added: “Fan control of football is an evolution, the game has been in the hands of the fans from the very beginning, and the introduction of blockchain technology will give a deeper meaning and purpose to all fans who play FCF.”
In a Jan. 12 interview with Forbes, FCF co-founder Farudi statement The organization is “experimenting” its format and will continue to do so to figure out what works best for fans and the league.
“We don’t know exactly what will work and what won’t. But we don’t have a players union. We don’t have 30 owners around us saying no to us. We have an agenda. Our agenda is success. We’re going to be level n. Experiment to find out what works and what fans love,” he said.