The Crown League is a fantasy football league like no other, where experts face off and regular fans have the opportunity to be an owner…
About a year and a half ago, Derek Siskin was working in a digital marketing agency, but in his spare time he wasn’t dreaming up the perfect advertising strategy.
As a diehard fantasy football player, he used whatever extra time he had to work on improving his fantasy teams. He had played in several leagues for years, including in a high-stakes league and as the commissioner in yet another league. It was the same story for many of his friends.
Through conversations with these friends, he realized none of them cared about each other’s teams or leagues, though each cared passionately about his own.
Siskin began to wonder if there was a way to bridge the gap. Around that time, Siskin and a friend he previously met online through fantasy football had a face-to-face meeting. During their meeting, both expressed similar ideas about the possibility of starting something new in the fantasy space. They dreamed together about building something never done before, something that would tie together fantasy sports, rooting for one’s favorite team together with other passionate fans, and the common desire of fans to have a say in the decisions of their franchise.
The result of their dreaming and planning is the Crown League, the first ever professional fantasy football league. In most ways, this 12-team league will look similar to any other fantasy football league, with around 20 roster spots, ½ PPR scoring, and a six-team playoff format. But instead of regular Joes running the teams, respected leaders and writers in the fantasy football industry will serve as the General Managers of each of the 12 franchises.
In a sense, Siskin and his co-founders are attempting to do for fantasy football what eSports has done for video games. Though eSports stops with spectators watching the best gamers go at it on their favorite video game, the Crown League takes it a step further. Not only will you be able to watch fantasy pros compete, and root for one of their franchises to be victorious – you can also step into the action and literally be a part of one of the franchises.
Shares in each franchise will be available for purchase. When someone purchases shares, he or she becomes one of the owners of the franchise, and instantly a part of its management team. Shareholders can then give input into moves they’d like to see the General Manager of their team make, perhaps by voting on polls or suggesting trades on the Crown League app communication forums. They can interact with the other owners as well as the General Manager, brainstorming and collaborating on how to improve the team.
Similar to the way the Green Bay Packers structure their ownership, each franchise will be owned not by a billionaire in a suit, but by everyday fans who choose to invest in the franchise of their choice.
Today the Crown League is announcing the launch of one of its 12 franchises, the Philadelphia Powderkegs. The General Manager of the Powderkegs will be respected fantasy guru and Philadelphian Jeff Ratcliffe of Pro Football Focus. I spoke with Ratcliffe about the league and his role in it, and he said from the moment he heard about the idea of the Crown League at an FSTA (now the FSGA) event in Tampa, he felt it was an idea with serious potential.
To Ratcliffe, who incidentally earned a PhD in cultural anthropology from Temple University, the key to this league is related to how it helps people form community around what they love doing. No one likes hearing others talk about leagues they are not involved in, but shared fandom is powerful. The Crown League will turn a hobby that is often done in isolation on its head, since everyone involved in the Powderkegs franchise (or one of the other 11 franchises) will care passionately about the same fantasy team.
Once shares are available for purchase, there are many reasons why folks might want to buy shares in a particular franchise. They might want to purchase shares in the Powderkegs specifically if they are based near Philadelphia and want to take part in the live events, or be able to meet with other owners who have shares in the team. Or perhaps they’d want to invest in the Philly franchise because they trust in Ratcliffe’s knowledge and skill to manage the team effectively. Still others may want to jump aboard once they see the roster, after the initial auction draft is complete, if they believe it to be the strongest team in the league.
Whatever the rationale for investors buying stock in a particular franchise, Siskin and the rest of the Crown League management team foresee the development of large and active fan bases for each of its franchises around the country.
The reason is simple: there simply isn’t an opportunity for the regular fan to play a real role in the franchises they root for, regardless of the sport. Fans can buy season tickets, and branded gear, and talk about their team ad nauseam. But in the end, they have no real impact on the success or the choices of “their” team. Professional sports investment opportunities are limited to a select few with vast wealth. But the Crown League offers an opportunity for anyone to own a stake in one of its franchises, which has the potential, according to Siskin, to “democratize pro sports ownership, taking it beyond a regular fan experience.”
The process for how and where one will purchase shares of a franchise is not yet settled, as the details are still being ironed out. But once the shares have been qualified by the SEC and are available for purchase, buying and selling shares is likely to happen on a marketplace of some sort, similar to how one might buy and sell stocks on a platform like eTrade.
The Crown League likely could have been successful even without the ownership stake piece. An opportunity to watch fantasy football experts compete while managing their own franchises, with money on the line, sounds interesting enough. But add in the option to purchase an ownership stake in a franchise, with the opportunity to play a role in the direction that franchise takes, and there is reason to believe this league will do what powder kegs do, and explode.
Never before have NFL fans been more interested in the inner workings of “their” team – they follow their franchise’s salary cap situation, draft strategy, and overall business decisions like never before. Simultaneously, pay-to-play fantasy football has boomed, with increasing numbers of players willing to make or lose money based on their ability to build a championship roster. The Crown League enters the market at the intersection of those two trends, and seems poised to add yet another cluster of rabid fan bases to the sports universe.
NO MONEY OR OTHER CONSIDERATION IS BEING SOLICITED, AND IF SENT IN RESPONSE, WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
NO OFFER TO BUY THE SECURITIES CAN BE ACCEPTED AND NO PART OF THE PURCHASE PRICE CAN BE RECEIVED UNTIL THE OFFERING STATEMENT FILED BY THE COMPANY WITH THE SEC HAS BEEN QUALIFIED BY THE SEC. ANY SUCH OFFER MAY BE WITHDRAWN OR REVOKED, WITHOUT OBLIGATION OR COMMITMENT OF ANY KIND, AT ANY TIME BEFORE NOTICE OF ACCEPTANCE GIVEN AFTER THE DATE OF QUALIFICATION.
AN INDICATION OF INTEREST INVOLVES NO OBLIGATION OR COMMITMENT OF ANY KIND.
OFFERING STATEMENTS REGARDING THESE OFFERINGS HAVE BEEN FILED WITH THE SEC. YOU MAY OBTAIN THE PRELIMINARY OFFERING CIRCULARS THAT ARE PART OF EACH OFFERING