• Andy Marston

86: FCF receives $40m investment, ATP, WTA and The PGA Tour agree Netflix deals

After the North London Derby was postponed due to a single Covid case, the Premier League has been accused of lacking integrity and ignoring fan interest. So, with extra time on my hands, I decided to take a closer look at an alternative league that is placing fan opinion right at its very core: Fan Controlled Football.

 

TOP STORY

Fan Controlled Football scores $40m investment from Animoca and Delphi Digital

Fan Controlled Football (FCF) has announced the closing of a $40 million series A investment round led by Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital.


The FCF is a 7-on-7 indoor American football league that takes place at the Infinite Energy Arena. The league is unique because the players run the plays that the fans call. Every play, the fans of the offensive team get to vote on what play to run. The play with the most votes wins.


The league began its inaugural season last February with four teams competing in a 12-game-format over six weeks. The matches were streamed on Twitch and VENN and viewership steadily increased from 735k in the first week to 2.1m in the playoffs.


The FCF's second season is scheduled to follow the NFL's Super Bowl. For which, the league has expanded from four to eight teams for the 2022 season and agreed a deal with NBCLX and Peacock set to broadcast every game.


Interestingly, these expansion teams will all be part of a project called the FCF Ballerz Collective NFT and each of the new team owners are tied to existing NFT project communities. Teams Knights of Degen and 8OKI (led by Steve Aoki and 888) were announced in October and The Gutter Cat Gang and Bored Ape Yacht Club were recently announced.


Holding these NFTs will provide "never before seen utility" with enhanced voting and play calling power as well as chances to win VIP tickets to games, game-worn merch drops, and more.


Our Take:

This is a super exciting example of how new rights holders can create community around teams in an authentic way using Web 3.0 technology.


Furthermore, by partnering with existing NFT communities such as BAYC, the FCF is able to tap in to already powerful and well-formed communities and in exchange offer them utility, something many early Web 3.0 projects lack/ crave (See: Socios $CHZ fan tokens). FCF suggest they will branch into Baseball in 2023. Other sports leagues will surely be taking note, too.


📚 Further Reading

  • Candy Digital: Putting The Pastime on the Blockchain - Boadroom TV

  • A Crypto Collective of Golf Enthusiasts Is Teaming Up To Buy a Golf Course - Hypebeast

  • The Web 3.0 Renaissance: In conversation with Animoca's Robby Yung and Antourage's Johan Junker - Are You Not Entertained

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Netflix and Box To Box Films, the production company behind Formula 1's "Drive to Survive" docs-series are teaming up to create similar shows for both golf's PGA Tour and Tennis' ATP and WTA Tours. The yet-to-be-named golf series will cover the four major championships as well as The Players Championship and FedEx Cup. A number of high-profile golfers — including Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth — are already on board. The tennis docuseries will take viewers behind the scenes of the two tours and the four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. The two announcements back to back led Leaders' Head of Content, David Cushnan to ask Twitter, "If everyone does a Netflix series, does everyone find new fans?"


This is a reference to the huge success that F1 and their owners Liberty Media have already achieved over the past four years in attracting Gen Y and Z - in which Drive to Survive has played no small part. Research by Nielsen Sports based on 10 key global markets found that 73m new people claimed interest in F1 in the last 12 months. And they are mostly young: 77% of those new fans were aged 16-35. That age bracket now represents 46% of F1’s interest pool, up from 40% in January 2020. The PGA, ATP, and WTA Tours will all be hoping that by also providing fans with behind-the-scenes access to their sport and revealing the friendships and rivalries among their athletes that traditional broadcasts fail to capture, they can replicate some of the success F1 has generated.


📚 Further Reading

  • Netflix Continues To Infiltrate Professional Sports - Huddle Up

  • Neymar Netflix documentary: 'The perfect Chaos' first trailer released - MARCA

  • Apple buying sports content 'the right move at right time,' Wedbush says - Seeking Alpha

 

WEEKLY ROUND UP

Broadcast

  • The Sports streaming service DAZN is on the cusp of an estimated $800 million deal to acquire Britain’s BT Sport, which would give it rights to the Premier League and UEFA Champions League matches, according to four sources familiar with the matter

NFTs

  • NounsDAO is set to become the first NFT in a Super Bowl commercial after a proposal was put to members that in exchange for one Noun, a prominent beverage company would include Noun glasses in one of their prestigious ad spots.

Private Equity

  • Sport is experiencing unprecedented levels of private equity interest as leagues overhaul their ownership rules. With the influx of institutional investment showing no signs of slowing, SportsPro looks at the stances adopted by top competitions in North America and Europe and what could be next in 2022.

Sports Betting

  • Online sports betting made its long-awaited debut in New York on January 8th as four operators went live with a series of eye-catching promotions in an effort to woo customers. Industry experts say Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and BetRivers are wise to be aggressive in opening up New York despite the 51% tax rate.

Cryptocurrency

  • According to their CEO Peter Murray, The PFL will be adopting cryptocurrency as part of business operations. The league will be open to paying fighters, as well as letting fans buy merchandise and eventually tickets with crypto.

Sponsorship

  • eBay UK has enlisted Roberto Carlos and Eni Aluko as part of their Dream Transfer campaign. The campaign aims to “democratise” the January transfer window by offering it to everyone in the UK through one game Sunday League contracts, listed on eBay for a fiver (£5).

 

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