FCFL is one of the more engrossing propositions that ICO seekers are likely to come across due to its sheer novelty, if nothing else.
Veering away from the usual ICO focus on technology, the initial idea for FCFL arose from a proof-of-concept project implemented in early 2017 which involved the creation of a new Indoor (American) Football League team, the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, whose tactical decisions both on and off the field were the result of direct input from fans via a voting app.
The experiment was apparently so successful – and the media coverage that it generated appears to back up the claim – that the team was removed from the league by its owners who now want to start up a fully Fan-Controlled Football League (FCFL, the name of the ICO that you are now reading about) in its place – a league, in other words, where each team is managed directly by its own fans.
Concept and White-paper
A reading of the white-paper is recommended here, particularly for those who have little familiarity with American Football. In the first place, the FCFL is looking to create its own indoor American football league to rival that of the current IFL.
Whilst the project will initially be American Football-focused, it seems that the project leads here are already thinking further ahead.
Working with the assumption that the idea will be so popular that it will quickly be adapted to other sports, the project leads are gearing their vision towards the FAN token becoming the centre of an entire universe of interactive, fan-controlled sports.
Banking on the proposition that they themselves will be the only ones around to offer up the necessary commercial partnerships and infrastructure necessary to expand on a concept that they themselves will be pioneering – as opposed to being copycatted successfully by others, for example – the idea has attracted sufficient interest that its advisory team now includes executives from Sega, Disney, the NFL (a former COO of the San Francisco 49’ers, no less) and, from the blockchain space, Galia Benartzi, co-founder of Bancor.
The project is looking to raise the kind of capital that will allow it to rig up an indoor venue which will host every single game of the new football league that it intends to create. The location of that venue is still under discussion but Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City are cited as being among the leading contenders.
A specialised venue, they explain, is required because specialised production equipment itself is needed to optimise the real-time viewing experience: overhead cameras that track each individual player’s movements, monitoring equipment rigged to the players themselves that allows information to be relayed between players and fans, along with a specialised studio to accommodate real-time commentary between hosts and fans.
The league’s first season will offer up a prize of $1,000,000 to the league winners. This will be distributed to the winning team and a subset of the winning team’s fans. This subset of fans are the so-called leaderboard fans who rank highest on the team’s leaderboard for a combination of association with the most winning plays and – significantly – FAN token holding. We have, then, a proposal that, if successful, could lead to some fans having the kind high profiles that matches those of players themselves.
Unusually for a white-paper, information on the team occupies almost one half of the contents – full biographies are provided for each prominent individual involved with the project.
They team appears to be drawn from a long list of backgrounds which is entirely expected given the equally long list of skillsets that will be required to pull of a project with this kind of ambition: figures drawn from the world of football coaching, media production, gaming and PR are all in there. This is a white-paper that is boasting its team which, apart from the concept itself, appears to be the project’s biggest asset.
A high profile team is already its own marketing strategy. And with coverage from the likes of the Washington Post, the WSJ, USA Today, Reuters and Sports Illustrated, it is difficult to find a weakness here.
Marketing is traditionally where most ICOs with solid teams and promising ideas fall down. It would be something of a surprise if that turned out to be the case here. If there are any lingering concerns, a former Coca-Cola networking executive on its staff should be enough to allay them.
The first question that needs asking for a project like this: why a blockchain-based solution? Is it even relevant? The answer provided by the white-paper is: the consensus mechanism. With a blockchain’s immutability, no-one can claim that fans’ votes have been manipulated. That seems reasonable enough.
If the FAN token does become the epicentre of a whole series of fan-controlled sports, the potential rewards are enormous. The white-paper hints at an entire fan-controlled economy that is underpinned by the FAN token – requiring purchases of FAN token for sponsorship real estate on the app, for instance, seems a likely option.
However, the project really does need to elaborate on detail here to allow for those who want to adopt a more technical analysis of the project’s long-term prospects for bringing value to the token.
This is not a project that lacks ambition. The project seems to have promise as demonstrated by its proof-of-concept phase. It is difficult to find a weakness in relation to the team and with its ability to get the message out there.
The success of this venture will likely boil down to two questions. Firstly, will its large team be able to execute on an ambitious project which requires having the right people following through on the vast range of challenges that they will necessarily meet with?
Secondly, will sports fans take to the idea in the same way that they appear to have done so during the proof-of-concept phase? The rise of eSports – which is largely alien to Europeans – seems to indicate that there is certainly a market for something like this. An unusual proposition – ambitious, American, out there, slightly unorthodox – but, it appears, something that could work out for those same reasons.