FCF Glacier Boyz quarterback Deondre Francois (Todd Kirkland/Fan Controlled Football/Getty Images)

Fan Controlled Football Partners with NBCUniversal

The innovative league that lets fans directly influence what happens on the field, gets a major distribution boost from NBCLX.

As Fan Controlled Football is getting ready for its second season in Spring 2022, the league has found itself a media partner. NBCLX, NBCUniversal Local’s TV and streaming network that aims to serve adults aged 18 to 45, will present live coverage for year two, the league announced Thursday.

Coverage will include the FCF’s regular season, postseason, and championship.

FCF CEO Sohrob Farudi said the league had been in talks with NBC since its first season and after the third week of play, discussions between the two companies began around season two. “This opens up a whole nother world of possibility for us in terms of getting in front of fans,” said Farudi in an interview.  It’s not just going to be about them broadcasting our content, they will be creating their own content as well.”

NBCLX is equally excited to work with the FCF.

“Fan Controlled Football is a highly engaging and innovative experience, which makes it a great addition to NBCLX’s content portfolio and a great match for our audience,” said Meredith McGinn, NBCUniversal Local’s EVP of Diginets & Original Production in a statement. “We are pleased to partner with the league on its upcoming season and showcase this exciting live content on NBCLX platforms.”

The league will still broadcast from Twitch, the platform it used to release its games in the first season. In addition to gaining a media partner the FCF is also doubling in size from four teams to eight teams. The core four — the Wild Aces, Beasts, Zappers, and Glacier Boyz –will return with the same set of investors backing them. As for the four new teams, the investors and team mascots will be announced at a later date.

As their name suggests, the league permits fans to invest in teams, call plays, and vote on rules and postgame awards. Fans were able to purchase stakes in teams on the private investment platform, Republic. The campaign sold out with more than $1 million invested by 2,342 fans. The minimum investment a fan could make was $150. 

Current owners that have stakes in FCF teams include Quavo, Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, Renee Montgomery, and Austin Ekeler.

The FCF is backed by Verizon Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, Talis Capital, Bleacher Report co-founder Dave Finocchio, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and four-time Super Bowl champion Joe Montana.

Viewership for the league increased from 735,000 in week one, to 922,000 in week three and 2.1 million in week five. The FCF has not revealed info for average number of minutes viewers spent on streams. “Our first season probably caught a lot of people by surprise in terms of the product quality on the field,” said Farudi. 

The league is formatted much differently than the traditional style of football seen in the NFL. The FCF runs a 7-on-7 style of play that permits up to five wide receivers to run routes, one offensive lineman blocking, and a quarterback throwing the ball. The amount of receivers and offensive linemen catching or blocking depends on the strategy the team prepares before a game. Players were paid between $400 to $750 a week which includes lodging and meals. Returning players will see an increase in year two. 

Notable players that participated last season include former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, recently signed Kansas City Chiefs wideout Josh Gordon, and former Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois. 

Next year’s season will continue to take place in Atlanta, and the league expects to host between 1,000 and 2,000 spectators per game. According to Farudi, the league’s goal is to have 20 franchises within five years.