Alternative sports organization Fan Controlled Football (FCF) has raised $40 million in Series A funding from crypto and blockchain gaming companies to support league expansion plans, including four new teams and a draft NFT.
CWF was founded in 2017 by Sohrob Farudi, Patrick Dees, Ray Austin and Grant Cohen and staged its first season in a bubble environment in Atlanta amid the pandemic last year. FCF offers an indoor version of American football in a seven-on-seven format, and games are streamed live on Twitch.
The unique feature of the league is that the teams are governed by their fans, who have the right to vote on everything from player acquisitions, in-play 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 funding round was led by NFT and crypto firms Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital. The funds will be used to expand the league from four to eight teams for the 2022 season, as well as launch NFTs called “The Ballerz Collection”.
All four new teams are owned by figures connected to the NFT projects, with the Bored Apes and Gutter Cats teams being the latest to be announced following the unveiling of the Knights of Degen and team 80KI (co-owned by DJ and NFT promoter Steve Aoki) in October.
CWF is rolling out 8,888 Ballerz NFT avatars for each new team that fans can snag to hodl and gain voting rights for their team. NFTs will differ in rarity and value, with more expensive tokens offering greater benefits such as enhanced voting power, exclusive content, and game tickets.
All existing Bored Ape Yacht Club or Gutter Cat NFT hodlers will also receive a 50% discount on Ballerz NFT purchases if they purchase tokens that match these teams. NFTs are expected to drop at the end of this month, and the public minting cost per token will be 0.1776 Ether (ETH) or around $580.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Animoca Brands Chairman and Co-Founder Yat Siu pointed out that Fan Tokens can allow fans to participate directly in their favorite sports:
“One of the most powerful things tokenization does is release fan energy into tangible forms of value and meaning, we see this effect in NFTs and also in social tokens.”
“Fan-controlled football is an evolution where the game is in the hands of the fan from the start and the introduction of blockchain technology will give it a deeper meaning and purpose for all fans who play FCF,” said he added.
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In an interview with Forbes on January 12, FCF co-founder Farudi declared that the organization is “experimenting” with its format and will continue to do so to find out what works best for the 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 the table saying no to us. We have an agenda. Our goal is to succeed. We’re going to experiment to the nth degree to figure out what works and what fans like,” he said.