AP NEWS

Football league controlled by fans will stream on Twitch

April 9, 2018

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An indoor football league in which the fans call the teams’ plays will have a major online platform.

The eight-team Fan Controlled Football League will stream its games live on Twitch when it begins play next year, the league announced Monday.

The two-year streaming deal is the latest step in the evolution of a league built for fans who want a voice in essentially every aspect of the operations of a football team.

The FCFL is supposed to feel like a video game come to life, so the Amazon-owned video game streaming site is an ideal place to showcase its seven-on-seven brand of football, according to CEO Sohrob Farudi.

Fans will call the plays in real time during games, voting on a few choices and reaching a decision that will be quickly relayed to the coaches and players on the field. Fans also will have a role in choosing their teams’ players, coaches, general managers — even their names and logos.

The Twitch broadcasts will be produced by IMG Original Content, a production company arm of the entertainment conglomerate that also owns the UFC. When fans watch the games on their desktops or phones through Twitch, they’ll have an interactive video overlay through an extension that will enable the swift responses necessary to choose plays while a game is going on.

The FCFL games will be one hour long and will be played in a production studio on a 50-yard field. It’s not traditional football by any means, but its backers believe it’s a compelling new way to consume a well-known product.

The fan-centric concept behind the FCFL was introduced last year by the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles , an expansion team in the Indoor Football League that was named and populated by its fans. The team went 5-11 with fans calling plays, but the concept was popular enough to persuade the team’s backers that they could mount an entire league built around it.

Twitch is already deeply involved in streaming live competitive endeavors. The Overwatch League began competition earlier this year on a soundstage in Burbank, California, beaming its weekly competition in the wildly popular multiplayer video game around the world through Twitch.

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