A video game-like professional American football league managed by fans, Fan Controlled Football (FCF), has announced a $40 million Series A round of funding led by Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital. The investment will be used to expand the league, adding two new teams, both governed by non-fungible token (NFT) holders and based on the Bored Ape Yacht Club and the Gutter Cat Gang NFT themes.
FCF was launched in February of 2021, initially with only four teams. The league involves physical football games where fans have the ability to make team management and playing decisions, including drafting players and calling real-time plays.
There are four additional teams for the second 2022 season, all governed by NFT holders. The Bored Ape and Gutter Cat teams join two others, Knights of Degen and Team 80KI, announced last October.
For each of the four new teams, 8,888 NFT avatars titled Ballerz will be minted. Each avatar was a unique combination of over 150 traits. Limited edition accessories for the avatars will also be available. Some exclusive items provide additional benefits to fans, such as enhanced voting power, access to behind-the-scenes content, and the ability to design and sell in-store merchandise. Fans who hold NFTs from the Bored Ape or Gutter Cat collection will receive a 50% discount on the price of a Ballerz.
The FCF league concept is based on developing a product that combines competitive live sports, fantasy football, and live streamed video games into a single fan engagement experience. The games are played in a multi-purpose studio arena in Atlanta and streamed live on Twitch.
Season one of the FCF game became one of the fastest growing live sports channels on Twitch and had nearly 10 million live views. It was also one of the top sports apps in the Apple Store.
“The backing of investors like Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital, leaders in web3, further validates our initial success and vision to build the first pro sports league for the digital age,” said FCF co-founder and CEO Sohrob Farudi.
He continued, “FCF combines the passion and excitement of traditional football with the best of web3, digital collectibles, and play-to-earn gaming, creating a unique IRL meets URL entertainment experience that was not possible until now. Many startup football leagues never make it to a second season, and we are now pumped for Season v2.0 and v3.0 of FCF.”
Meanwhile, Animoca has plans to launch a Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) play-to-earn game, and Adidas partnered with the NFT collection for its NFT launch. Music artist Timbaland launched a music label based on Apes and a division Universal Music is using four of the BAYC characters to launch a music group on the metaverse.