Sports are becoming more and more interactive, giving fans more ways to engage with their favorite teams and participate in fantastic leagues, legalized sports betting and sports. Now the new Fan-Controlled Football League (FCF) plans to take it one step further.
The indoor football league, slated to launch in 2021, aims to put fans in control in every way. They will be able to call real games in real time, just as they can in a Madden NFL game. They will decide who starts, who is traded and even what the jerseys look like.
The league is an interesting experience, and partner brands have already signed up without ever seeing a fan-controlled snapshot. On December 3, the CLF announced a partnership with Champion.
“Champion is a brand that embraces sport and innovation, and that’s why we’re thrilled to team up with an organization that is redefining football,” said Tyler Lewison, Managing Director of Champion Teamwear.
The legacy sportswear brand will take logos designed by members of the FCF community and create jerseys for each of the four teams (with names like the Zappers, Wild Aces, Glacier Boyz and Beasts). Today, CLF also announced a deal with Progressive.
“Because we’re building this league from the ground up, we can also create brand integrations from the ground up,” said Jennifer Rottenberg, CMO of fan-controlled football. “It’s a blessing and a curse. We don’t need to take the sponsorships out of the bucket of traditional assets that usually go into a [sports sponsorship deal], but people have a habit of looking at these packages when they get pitch decks. We do not have it; we have conversations. It’s a more complicated sale, but after brainstorming we came back with four ideas and Progressive liked them all.
The unique nature of the league leads to additional opportunities. The progressive agreement includes a hallmark moment called Progressive Fifth Down. Once per match, fans can earn the chance to vote on a coin where they would like to take a bonus after a failed fourth conversion. It’s an additional insurance – a nice link with the brand’s category – to take a risk on a fourth down.
There’s also FCF Protection by Progressive, a weekly segment interviewing offensive linemen, the built-in insurance policy for shifts. The game’s outstanding coverage focuses on defense games, and the progressive snapshot badge offers perks, rewards, and access to premium content.
“Progressive is committed to innovating, to making people look for things that are a little different,” Rottenberg said. “In Season 1, they won’t be committing to an eight-figure deal. They want to test it out and see how it goes. Hope it goes well and they want to come back for bigger, better, more.
As the CLF tests a new format for the sport, the league has had no trouble winning over big names. Team owners include former NFL stars Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch, hip-hop pioneer Quavo and former boxing champion Mike tyson. They also have MLB players, professional wrestlers, and YouTube stars in various ownership roles.
The six-week season kicks off in February 2021 at the CLF’s custom facility in Atlanta. Games will be quick, with just seven players on each side compared to 11 in the NFL and college football. The pitch will also be halved from 100 yards long to just 50, the width dropping from 53 yards to 35. The result will be quarterbacks who can easily throw the ball into the end zone from anywhere on the pitch. pitch, less room to work with for remote play callers and a style of football similar to the Arena Football League now defunct.