FCF’s blockchain-backed expansion follows a $40 million fundraising round led by Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital.
Fan Controlled Football has announced the closing of a $40 million series A investment round led by Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital. Additional investors include Gemini Frontier Fund, 6th Man Ventures, executives at GoldenTree Asset Management, Jump Crypto, and Sebastian Borget, co-founder of The Sandbox.
All of the league’s initial Seed investors participated, including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Talis Capital, Verizon Ventures, Correlation Ventures, and Basecamp Fund.
“We gave investors a lot of confidence because this isn’t a technology company, this isn’t a sports league, this is both,” said Sohrob Farudi, the FCF’s CEO. “We had the numbers, we had people engaged, we had big brands and a great group of people that understand that the world has changed. We have a chance to build the forefront of what the future of this world is gonna be, which is digital.”
Added Yat Siu, Animoca Brands Executive chairman: “We’re excited to support FCF, a league that is at the cutting edge of bringing Web 3.0 and blockchain to professional sports. Having followed its successful and entertaining first season, we look forward to the groundbreaking ways that fans will be able to engage with FCF in the upcoming seasons.”
As part of the fanfare, FCF is also announcing two new “FCF Ballerz Collective” NFT expansion teams:
- The Bored Ape Yacht Club, owned by a group including TropoFarmer, Josh Ong, Jerseyborn, Franklin, Lindsey Byrnes, BenJammin, NFTsAnonymous, Jeff Nicholas, and Spr3adsh33t
- The Gutter Cat Gang, led by King BlackBored, Dr. Dicatrio, Vivek Ravishanker, SpottieWiFi, and Jamal Anderson
Those two teams join two existing FCF Ballerz Collective teams that were previously announced:
- Team 8OKI, led by Steve Aoki and 888
- Knights of Degen led by founders and community members like Tiki Barber, Ronde Barber, Jerry Ferrara, Cynthia Frelund, Jasmine Maietta, and Drew Austin
Non-fungible token owners in each of these communities will be provided an opportunity to receive one of 2,000 free “FCF Ballerz NFTs” for their team, as well as early access to purchase a FCF Baller at a fifty percent discount to the public sale price.
“Where I felt like this could be a really great fit was because [us] creating community around these next four teams in an authentic way and partnering with the four existing communities within them that are all strong and powerful creates an idea that this is the first sports league where NFTs are governing decision making at a team level,” said Farudi.
Team owners of the previous four teams included Marshawn Lynch, Renee Montgomery, Dalvin Cook, Richard Sherman, Barbara Dunkelman and Rachel Lindsay. “FCF is getting they money up, securing them $40 M’s, we ready for seasons 2, 3 and some mo,’” said Beasts Co-owner Marshawn Lynch in a release. “And special shout-out to the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Gutter Cat Gang peoples for linking up with our FCF fam. These are the types of partnerships that tell you we ain’t messing around. I can’t wait to see how the whole NFT thing takes fan engagement in the ‘game’ to a whole ‘nother level, ya feel me?”
With the league doubling its number of teams from year one to year two its season will also go three more weeks, from six weeks to nine weeks. The season will kick off in a little over three months on April 16. Farudi said players will receive a raise that is to be announced. In year one players made between $400 and $750 weekly with their meals and lodging also paid for. Additionally, fans will vote to decide bonuses for players in categories such as best interview, best touchdown and best touchdown celebration.
The FCF CEO is also looking forward to a brand new revenue stream, fan attendance. “We’ve got this venue 24/7/365, so we look at it as an asset,” he said. “It adds another component to the revenue model. Quite frankly we have a zero in our revenue model for ticket sales. It wasn’t something that we looked at or contemplated [because] it is a digital first league. So this adds another shot in the arm from a revenue standpoint.”
The FCF was a hit last year, going from 735,000 viewers in week one, to 922,000 in week three and jumping to 2.1 million in week five. The league did not provide information on the average number of minutes views spent on its streams. But the success of the league in year one allowed the FCF to bring global streaming platform DAZN into the fold.
That announcement came in December, but the two partners have wasted no time in going to work. DAZN began streaming FCF content the weekend following the reveal — the event was an open player combine tryout at Jerry Chabola Stadium in Culver City, California.
The FCF’s other streaming partners include Twitch, NBCLX, and Peacock.
But with the Series A funding round now close, Farudi is already looking forward to what is to come.
“The plan is to actually have two seasons this year, we’re going to do a fall season,” he said. “Whether we expand is to be determined. For 2023 our goal is to test Fan Controlled Baseball in the next 12 months. Based on the success we hopefully have this year, we will look at multiple sports and leagues and everything we can do headed into next year.”