The Fan Controlled Football League (FCF) is gearing up for its second season after closing a $40 million Series A led by Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital, the league announced Wednesday.
The FCF is an alternative professional sports league where fans vote on real-time decisions for their team, including play calling and roster management.
“We call the league a real-life video game,” FCF CEO Sohrob Farudi told CoinDesk in an interview. “When you look at all the elements of the league, the buying and selling of gear, team governance, community building, it just really lends itself well to a token model.”
The funding will be used to double the league’s size from four teams to eight teams, with the new teams being owned by non-fungible token (NFT) projects Bored Ape Yacht Club, Gutter Cat Gang, Knights of Degen and Team 8OKI.
NFT owners from those projects will have first dibs on minting an NFT from the FCF Ballerz collection before its public sale, which grant “team governance rights, play-to-earn game mechanics and unique IRL experiences” to its holders, according to a press release.
As of now, the “play-to-earn” mechanic of the league comes from performance-based rewards given to each team’s token holders, but the league says it has plans for an “Axie Infinity style tokenomics model” that it’s working on with Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital, a representative told CoinDesk.
The league’s pivot into NFT communities headlining its new franchises is yet another indicator of how culturally significant projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club have become, with the group now listed alongside the league’s athlete and celebrity team owners Marshawn Lynch, Quavo and Bob Menery.
While the league streamed its games exclusively on Twitch last year, its second season will also be broadcast on NBC and Peacock in a bid to expand its audience.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.