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Los Angeles, California
Project Fanchise (or FANchise) is an organization with an idea of allowing fans to manage and control American football teams. FANchise owned two teams in the Indoor Football League, the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles and Colorado Crush, and tested the idea with the Screaming Eagles. They plan on starting a new indoor football league, the Fan Controlled Football League, with all teams being owned by the group.
The idea, then known as Project Franchise, was covered by The New York Times with the business concept of a fan-controlled baseball team in 2008, but was written as satirical piece by comedian Steve Hofstetter. At the time, the project was just a website created by Grant Cohen with investors consisting of lawyers such as Joe Scura. In 2010, a GOOD Magazine article described the group's business plan including asking fans to invest in creating or purchasing a minor league baseball team to become publicly owned and operated. The project ultimately failed when purchasing an existing team proved to carry too much debt.
In June 2015, an Arena Football League team minority owner, Sohrob Farudi, read about the dead project and contacted Cohen about restarting the concept as Project Fanchise. In April 2016, they purchased an expansion team in the Indoor Football League for the 2017 season. The group created a mobile app for subscribed fans to use to vote on naming the team, chose its colors, and hire a coach before the season started. The team became the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles and when the team began play, the fans chose plays for the team to run. SportTechie, The organization also purchased the IFL's Colorado Crush before the 2017 season but did not use the fan-vote system. Near the beginning of the season, Project Fanchise announced it would launch its own interactive football league and would leave the IFL at the end of the season.
The new league was originally called the Interactive Football League, then the Electronic Football League (eFL), before settling on Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) in November 2017. All games would be played in one location, Las Vegas, with fans calling plays while watching on-line via Twitch.tv. The initial start date was for the 2018 season but was postponed. It has since garnered the backing of professional athletes including former and current NFL stars Chad Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, and Richard Sherman. There is no announced start date and the company continues to meet with venture capitalists for funding as of October 2019[update].
- Hofstetter, Steve (March 16, 2008). "The Ultimate Fan Fantasy: Owning a Piece of the Rock". The New York Times.
- Swaminathan, Nikhil (2008-08-07). "Go Team - Issue 012 - GOOD". Good.is. Archived from the original on November 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- "A tech startup plans a revolution with the first fan-run sports franchise". CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
- Flynn, Erin. "Project FANchise: Behind the fan-run football team". SI.com. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
- Bradley, Logan (2016-11-21). "Ex-NFL Star Al Wilson Runs Indoor Football Team Enabling Fans To Call Plays With App". SportTechie. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
- "An Indoor Football League franchise is giving fans the keys to run the team". For The Win. 2016-06-09. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
- Kazin, Matthew (2016-06-30). "Ex-NFL Players Ahman Green, Al Wilson Back Fan-Run Indoor Football Team". Fox Business. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
- "Are You Ready for Some (Fan-Controlled) Football?". The Wall Street Journal. October 16, 2019.
- Rob Goldberg (March 6, 2019). "Chad Johnson Joins Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman in FCFL as a Team Owner". Bleacher Report.