[Originally posted Jan 12, 2022]
Congratulations to FCF (Fan Controlled Football) on your $40M Series A raise led by Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital. We led the seed in mid 2020 and have been continuously floored by the ingenuity, inventiveness, hustle, and performance of the FCF team.
We already know Americans love to watch football. The TV show with the highest ratings of the season is Sunday night football. Second highest is Thursday night football. Third highest is … you guessed it, Monday night football.
But watching isn’t enough. Fans want to be more involved. They want to pick players. They want to call plays. That’s what has made Fantasy Football so popular in America — 59M people play each season (US & Canada). That’s why Madden is the best selling sports game franchise.
The founders tested this concept in 2017 by buying a team in the IFL (Indoor Football League). They allowed the fans to choose the city (Salt Lake), name the team (Screaming Eagles), hire the head coach (fans watched live streamed interviews and voted), scout and pick players (fans nominated players to attend combines, watched livestreams and voted on who to draft), and call all the offensive plays in real-time.
Talk about an elaborate “proof of concept”! From that bold test to their first season as a startup, FCF is revolutionizing the future of immersive sports and entertainment by combining the competition of fantasy sports, the engagement of video games, the ownership and community elements of crypto, with the global reach of esports.
Their first season in 2021 saw the company drive amazing traction with more than 1M viewers per game for a total of 9M viewers during the season on Twitch and on the FCFL app and website. Compare that to the less than 1M people that watched the highly promoted XFL games towards the end of the season on ESPN, ABC and FOX. And FCF fans were super engaged — 82% of FCF fans voted on a team or league level decision, from team logos to drafting players and calling plays.
Another exciting development since we invested is that FCF has now become a crypto-enabled sports game. They added 4 expansion teams that are NFT-gated, are introducing play to earn mechanics via FCF’s $CTRL token, and are creating collectible moments and selling them as NFT drops (Top Shots style). This new web3 focus has led to a number of crypto investors to join the cap table and was a development we were pretty excited about given Lightspeed’s activity in the space.
Their new NFT teams are led by Steve Aoki +888, Bored Apes, Gutter Cats, and Knights of Degen.
The FCF team proved that fans want to interact with sports experiences in a more meaningful way, that they want to feel like owners. They’ve held this belief for years and recent developments in blockchain technology have allowed them to enable fans to become owners whose stake increases with their contributions.
Sports and football are pop culture, and FCF continues to stay at the forefront of how sports is influencing cultural moments in gaming and crypto. We can’t wait to see what they do next.
We are so thrilled to welcome Animoca Brands, Delphi Digital, 6th Man Ventures, Red Pill Ventures, Gemini, Jump Capital, GoldenTree, Steve Aoki, and continue to work alongside Marshawn Lynch, Talis Capital, Correlation Ventures, Basecamp, Animal Capital, Quavo, Bob Menery, and more.