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FAN Take: Modifying The Fan Experience

Posted on May 13, 2020

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

FAN Take is a series that highlights trending events, issues, and decisions in the world of sports and analyzes how they may or may not factor into the Fan Controlled Football League. We would love to hear your feedback, so let us know what you think about each FAN Take!

One of the few highlights of quarantine has been Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl’s storytelling, but this week he took his talents to The Atlantic, writing about the hole that the lack of live music has left in our lives. We feel that, just as strongly with live music as we do with live sports (what a surprise), and know the fans do too. But thankfully, artists are taking notice and doing what they can. While it may not be live, per se, people are still experiencing concerts in a different way. Some artists are doing livestreams, others are making past recordings of their concerts available on their YouTube channels, and a select few are doing special concert events in Fortnite.

We’ve previously discussed the impact that VR elements have added to live events for both fans in the stands and those watching from the comfort of home – from an augmented reality K-pop group performing at League of Legends Worlds to the Baltimore Ravens unleashing a bird to soar across the stadium. At the FCFL, we’re all about amplifying the league experience for the digital fan, so we need your help here! We want to know what would amplify the experience of every game for you. Do you want to feel truly immersed into the game with VR elements? Do you want to see those elements utilized to help you feel more connected to your specific team? Or the game you’re watching as a whole? Let us know, fans! At this point, anything is possible!

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World Cup Fever

Posted on July 30, 2019

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

We’re not talking about the FIFA Women’s World Cup – that was weeks ago. We’re talking about the Fortnite World Cup, which, if it taught us anything, it’s that we missed our calling as teenagers. Yes, actual TEENAGERS were taking home all kinds of prize money! Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, who is represented by the Sentinels, is only 16 years-old and walked away with a cool $3M. Yes, that’s right. Someone who is barely old enough to drive is now a multi-millionaire thanks to surviving six matches of a video game. He wasn’t the only one to take home money though. The player who ended in fifth in the Solos competition, Thiago “King” Lapp took home $900k. Oh, and he’s only 13. THIRTEEN.

While we frown at the thought of our unpaid student loans, let’s focus on the highlight of the whole event – the venue itself. Arthur Ashe Stadium was transformed into an immersive Fortnite world for everyone in attendance. From branded Slurp Juice for the crowd to sip on, to an actual zipline and a Lazy Links mini-golf course, the folks at Epic Games really thought of everything to make fans feel like they were in the game. As we build our league to really change the game of football forever, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what the game day experience will be like for the fans – both the ones in person at the venue and those that are streaming on their mobile devices. This is the FAN Controlled Football League (as if you needed any reminder), so we want to make sure the fans love every moment of it! Whether you hate tailgates or love seeing yourself featured on a jumbotron, let us know! We want to make this the experience YOU want!

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Training For A Future In Video Games

Posted on July 8, 2019

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

Well, that’s one way to kick off #NationalVideoGameDay! The Boston Globe reported that Jordan Herzog is trading in his high school classes for more time to play Fortnite, with support of his father. For months now, he’s been spending 8-14 hours a day in front of his computer to complete online lessons and train to “become one of the best competitive video game players in the world.” This training doesn’t come cheap, either. His father, Dave Herzog, has spent over $30,000 on gaming equipment and suspended family vacations to support Jordan’s dream.

Esports have been on the rise – we’re even seeing “eSports Camps” offered at local community colleges in addition to the usual outdoor sports and sciences. In an interview with Forbes, top streamer Ninja confirmed that he makes over $500k per month doing what he does – and that’s just on Twitch. We’re curious as to whether or not the fans would support their kids as they follow their dreams – inclusive of becoming the greatest [insert game name here] player of all time. If your kid shows that he has what it takes to become the best football player of all time, chances are you’re going to support them, so why would it be any different for eSports? We think that while some fans are hesitant to devote as many resources as Dave did for Jordan, we do think they would – especially when they look at the future earning potential.

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FCFL Team Owner Preps For Fortnite Pro-Am

Posted on June 14, 2019

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

It’s that time of the year again and the Fornite Pro-Am is back! This year we are excited to see FCFL Team Owner | Fan Captain Marshawn Lynch throw his hat into the ring for the tournament this weekend! Marshawn will be teaming up with Ninja, arguably the most popular streamer out there, especially for Fortnite. Marshawn recently shared a clip of him and Ninja getting prepared for the tournament, and frankly, we would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that. Other notable athletes and celebrities you’ll see in this year’s tournament include JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kenneth Faried, Jay Mewes, Hannibal Buress, Blake Martinez, and Brendon Urie. For the full list of partners and how to watch the tournament on Twitch, click here.

We think the fans would love to see some of their players and Team Owners | Fan Captains participate in next year’s tournament, but what about having an FCFL-wide version? It wouldn’t have to be Fortnite, but any game the fans and players are passionate about. We think the fans would jump at the opportunity to stream with the people they spend all season making decisions for. As for the Fortnite Pro-Am, we hope the fans will join us in wishing Marshawn the best of luck!

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Red Sox Ban Fortnite

Posted on May 2, 2019

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

Looks like Fortnite strikes again. After the Boston Red Sox started off with a 14-17 record this season, the insanely popular video game is no longer allowed in the Red Sox clubhouse. Who would have thought that trying to complete your daily and weekly challenges would consume so much of your time? Oh wait, just about anyone, including the players themselves. Starting pitcher Nate Eovaldi has even said the game probably won’t be back until the team gets there act together: “Maybe if we were doing a little better maybe we would be doing it, but you can’t be losing and playing Fortnite in the clubhouse. I think everybody, in general, understands that rule. When I came over here last year I was surprised because when I was with the Rays you didn’t do that. When I came over here we’re in first-place, everybody is having a good time and getting the job done. Now we have other things we have to focus on and tend to.”

They aren’t the first team to make this decision – the Toronto Blue Jays and Vancouver Canucks have put bans on the game while others like the Texas Rangers and Green Bay Packers have had to talk to their athletes about playing time limits. We also get the feeling they won’t be the last – we just hope it doesn’t interfere with some of our favorite athletes streaming on Twitch.

We’re sure Fortnite won’t be at the forefront forever, but there’s always going to be some game captivating everyone’s attention. So, should the FCFL follow the lead from some of these teams and limit screen time for our players during the season? Maybe. But ultimately, we need input from you, the fans. You all have a team you’re actively involved in, so why not make this one of the items you discuss with your Virtual Front Office. Don’t want to be in charge of making that call? That’s fine too, we just want to hear from you!

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Ninja Named One of TIME’s Most Influential

Posted on April 19, 2019

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

You read that headline right. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was named as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2019. Falling under the category of ‘Pioneer,’ he finds himself in good company alongside Sandra Oh, Indya Moore, Marlon James, Chrissy Teigen, Massimo Bottura, Hasan Minhaj, and Samin Nosrat among others. The only thing better than one of the biggest names in esports being featured on this list? The author of his feature: JuJu Smith-Schuster.

The Pittsburgh Steelers WR famously co-streamed matches of Fortnite with Drake and Travis Scott last March on Twitch. We think he summed up our feelings best by saying this: “I’ve been a huge video-game fanatic my whole life. But people have seen it as childish and a waste of time. Ninja was huge in building up the credibility of e-sports.” It’s about time esports got the credit it deserves! We’re looking forward to seeing more teams like FaZe Clan and super fans like Green Bay’s Blake Martinez make this list in the future. With the FCFL being described as the “real-life Madden,” we hope to see of you fans on the list too!

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FAN Take – Gaming: Connecting Athletes and Fans

By Annalece Montgomery

FAN Take is a series that highlights trending events, issues, and decisions in the world of sports and analyzes how they may or may not factor into the Fan Controlled Football League. We would love to hear your feedback, so let us know what you think about each FAN Take!

We’ve talked about well-known NFL players that have voiced their love for gaming, whether it’s PUBG, Fortnite, or any other game – but NBA players like Kenneth Faried are into it too! So much so that it was announced last week that the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) had partnered up with ReadyUp.  Together they will launch an “esports smart calendar that will act as the comprehensive source to find esports matches, tournaments, and livestreams that includes video game fan experiences and media events with NBA Players.” The players will be filling in the calendar with their own game livestreaming events so that fans are able to either watch or join in and play.

With 85% of NBA players playing video games, what do you think the percentage is like in the MLB, NHL, MLS, and NFL? How pumped would the fans be to see this kind of calendar put together across other sports as well? You could be watching Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels) one day and Marshawn Lynch (Oakland Raiders) the next? Would you rather watch these athletes stream or get in on the action? If you’re just spectating, would you team up with some of your friends to watch your favorite athletes? Would you want to see a calendar like the one NBPA and ReadyUp are making for FCFL athletes? Maybe even some of the coaches, depending on how savvy they really are? We want to know how important it is to you, the fans, to watch your favorite athletes get their game on!

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The NFL Invades Fortnite

By Annalece Montgomery

Epic Games announced yesterday that fans of Fortnite are about to up their skin game with NFL uniforms. All 32 NFL team jerseys will be available for purchase in the game beginning November 9th at 7pm ET. In addition to the jerseys, players will be able to complete the look with goal post harvesting tools, pigskin gliders, throw football-themed emotes and even change up their appearance with referee outfits.

Instead of receiving a standard jersey for any one NFL team, players will be able to customize the jersey number each time they use and swap out for a different team’s helmet, pants, and cleats. Meaning, if you are suited up in a Green Bay Packers uniform in one game, you can switch it up with a New Orleans Saints uniform in the next game. And to answer your question before we get asked, yes, the uniform skin will be available for both male and female avatars.

You may remember that over the summer, we highlighted JuJu Smith-Schuster and his sick Fortnite-inspired dance moves at training camp and Richard Sherman declaring that Fortnite was superior to PUBG – which team uniforms do you think they’ll have their avatars dressed in come Friday evening? We’re personally hoping to see Ninja have Drake and Travis Scott join him for another livestream in rival team uniforms. Maybe half Cowboys, half Giants gear? Or San Francisco v Seattle?

We’re sure the fans love this, but even better, they are going to love being able to customize their live players in the FCFL in a similar way. When we let the fans vote on which color visor a player has that week or what color cleats they’ll tie on, there are likely to be some crazy uniforms that get put together. We definitely think there will be some fans trolling certain players by putting them in some unpleasing accessories, while others will make sure their favorite players are looking more game-day ready than ever. While we can’t wait to see players in Fortnite running around in football skins when they land at Tilted Towers or play the sheet music by Retail Row, we’re WAY more excited to see what our fans come up with in the real world of the FCFL!

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FAN Take – Staying Busy In The Off Season

By Annalece Montgomery

FAN Take is a series that highlights trending events, issues, and decisions in the world of sports and analyzes how they may or may not factor into the Fan Controlled Football League. We would love to hear your feedback, so let us know what you think about each FAN Take!

In June, Brooklyn Nets Forward Kenneth Faried took home second place at the Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am Tournament. Who would have thought he had such mad skills, let alone to be runner up to the duo of Ninja and DJ Marshmellow? He took home a cool $250,000 in prize money, with the stipulation that it had to be used for a charitable purpose. Following the competition at E3, he was excited to finish second and happy that he worked as well as he did with his replacement partner, CourageJD – his original partner, Summit1G came down with a sickness shortly before the event.

And with that, he’s used his winnings to establish the Kenneth Faried HAT foundation – the ‘HAT’ stands for “humble, appreciative and thankful.” While it’s in its infancy, Faried only said that the foundation would focus on using sports, including basketball, to help young people.

Speaking to SportTechie’s Joe Lemire, he said “I’m trying to teach kids to be this way through basketball and the fundamentals of basketball: teamwork, being a partner to somebody, being respectful, listening to a leader and not just a coach as a leader. Some players step up and become leaders. We’re trying to teach that through basketball and other sports.” We’re looking forward to seeing Faried’s foundation grow and impact the community.

Fans, how do you want to see our athletes keep busy in the off season? Should they take a page from Kenneth Faried’s book? Should they focus on giving back to their community? Should they do whatever relaxes them, including playing video games like Fortnite? How about combining their favorite recreational activities with giving back? We’d love to hear from you!

Power To The Fans!

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PROS ON THE FIELD, CONNOISEURS OF GAMING OFF THE FIELD

By Annalece Montgomery

High-profile athletes are breaking stereotypes about both themselves and gamers with the help of esports. Every week, there’s something trending in the news and on social media about your favorite athletes joining in on the Fortnite hype. Earlier this week, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was spotted pulling out his best Fortnite dance moves at training camp. This isn’t the first time Juju is making headlines for his love of the game – earlier this year he did a live stream with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Drake and Travis Scott, breaking the viewing record on streaming platform Twitch. We don’t know about you, but we’d love to challenge him in a Battle Royale! JuJu, what’s your handle?

Other NFL stars have jumped on the Fortnite train. While Detroit Lions defensive back Darius Slay took to Twitter to see who wanted to jump in on a PUBG match. Richard Sherman and Eric Ebron were quick to let him know that they were not here for the game.

It isn’t just NFL powerhouses spending their free time gaming – Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, and the MVP of this year’s Stanley Cup Finals, has been spotted parked in front of his XBOX during the offseason. Headset and all. After last season’s performance, we can understand why he wanted to get lost in the game.

And then there’s Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez, who takes his love for gaming (he’s a big DOTA 2 fan) to the next level. He has appeared on multiple panels with some of the biggest names in the streaming community. Its encouraging and refreshing to see individuals like Blake Martinez be so vocal about the gaming industry. They’re lowering the barriers of access to them off the field.

Do you think the team that games together off the field will be the one to win on the field? We think fans would agree that the teams that work on creating a bond off the field shine better on game day. Imagine you’re the one calling plays, you’re not going to fire off a pass to someone you can’t connect with, are you? Whether its staying in to play video games, going out for team meals (where rookies get to pick up check) or giving back to the community, the relationships within the team strengthen their trust in one another when it comes to game time.

Power To The FANS!