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The future of sports with Patrick Dees, Chief Gaming Officer & Co-Founder, Fan Controlled Football League.
Take the decisions of your team on the field with Patrick Dees, from FCFL.

SiS- Patrick, thanks for being with us again after your great presentation at #SISParis2018 ! Before we start, would love to know more about yourself and what led you to co-found Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL)?

PD- By way of background, I am a technology entrepreneur and am manically competitive and incredibly active. I run 6 miles every day and have spent my entire life obsessed with sports and the business of sports.

Additionally, I'm a life long gamer who's entire fundamental understanding of sports comes through sports video game titles. Madden, FIFA, NHL and the NBA2K series were all annual additions to my gaming library. Madden is responsible for everything I know about football. So the lean-forward experience of real-time play calling and decision making has always been coupled with my sports experience.

And you know we frequently get asked, "How did you come up with the idea for the FCFL?" And the answer is that literally, EVERYONE has had this idea. Every fan of every sport has questioned the decisions on the court or field. And has a well-reasoned belief that they could make better decisions for their team. That they would have made the right call when it mattered most. We're probably the only ones crazy enough to bring it to life. And in doing so we believe that we'll change the live sports experience forever.  

Patrick Dees at SiS
Patrick Dees at SiSSiS

SiS- Loved the first slide of your presentation in Paris, "The Future of Sports is Interactive", tell us more?

PD- I'm glad you loved it. Its because it resonated a bit, right? The future of sports IS interactive. And we're out to prove that first with the FCFL and then with additional fan controlled leagues in other sports.

Fan's collective sporting IQ has never been higher. With the type of access to information that even a casual fan has, they are better prepared than ever before to actually make decisions on the field. With the advent of Fantasy sports, and games like Madden we've seen fans' insatiable appetite for more direct interaction with the sports experience that they love.

And sure, people could just play Madden but there is something magic about the live sports experience. Its the last authentic bastion of human drama and watching it play out in real time is unlike anything else. So marrying those two worlds allows fans to not only "watch" football but really lean forward and "play" the football in this league.

We're actually rethinking the sport for the ground up and are obtusely focused on the digital fans. Games are not only interactive but they are built for today's audience. Games are 1-hour running clock, shot entirely in a way that will resonate with madden gamers and fans literally call the plays in real time on the field.

The game is purpose-built to be as accessible or as deep as Fans want to engage. It's easy to play but has a high skill ceiling. Our fans are rewarded for calling plays and are not only competing with the opposing team but against other fans to climb the fan leaderboard!

SiS- You have created fan engagement tools built on blockchain powered by Fan Tokens, how do you think blockchain will transform the sports & entertainment industry and why?

PD- I think sports specifically lends itself well to tokenization. I'm especially excited about the idea of sports digital collectibles. I don't tend to collect things physically but in a game, I can't wait to complete my set of anything digital.

But I believe, more importantly, the transparency that the distributed ledger technology of blockchain will provide unprecedented visibility to fans.  

FCFL, Co-Founder, Patrick Dees
FCFL, Co-Founder, Patrick DeesSiS

SiS- What are in your opinion other technologies that will significantly change the fan experience or the ones you would like to see existing ?

PD- I believe we'll soon see a convergence of 2nd and 3rd screen experience and everything will live in one interactive screen. Digital overlays will be a part of every sports experience. And in as much, we're really pushing this technology here at the FCFL.

Twitch has acquired the streaming rights to the FCFL for the first two seasons and the way you interact with the league and engage with play calling will be through this digital overlay. It will be unprecedented on Twitch or anywhere else for that matter

It will display your play call options in real time, draw the routes for you, and allow you to call your play. Additionally, you'll be able to click on a player and in real time I can see his stats for the game/season and follow him on social and twitch.

Fans will also be able to interact with the real-time leader board through this overlay and see where one ranks globally for this game/season. They'll be able to compare his or her stats to those of their friends and talk trash to those they are competing with - all right in this digital overlay.

SiS- Fans of your teams can call the plays, which is unique outside of #gaming, is the coach of the future the fan enhanced by AI ? (Arsene Wenger, former Arsenal coach & manager mentioned at last #SISParis2018 it could be a robot powered by AI) ?

PD- I certainly hope so. We're in talks to have an AI power a team in the near future here and what a compelling narrative that would be. Id love to see fans take on AI. (And WIN!) But, for the record, I for one, welcome our future robot overlords.

SiS- Organisations are made of people, it seems your leadership team is quite different from traditional sport organisations, isn't it ?

PD- It is. But to realize our vision we really need to bring together the best and brightest from a num of different disciplines - Including traditional sports (Featuring the GOAT - Joe Montana and Andy Dolich (Former COO San Fransisco 49ers/President of the Memphis Grizzlies). esports (Ariel Horn former Global Head of Esports at Riot Games) , entertainment, and technology. We're incredibly proud of the team we've put together to make this a reality.

We've assembled the Avengers.  

FCFL is changing the way fan engagement impacts on fans
FCFL is changing the way fan engagement impacts on fansSiS

SiS- You guys are disruptive tech innovators, how do you already prepare for the next season ? What could be your next big thing ?

PD- If I told you - it would ruin the surprise. But no, we do relate to this as software and just an annualized video game we'll have certain balancing occur, new features to explore and reasons to come back. Season 2 will feature an even deeper relationship with the players including live POV twitch channels for individual players and some things that we're not ready to disclose just yet. But needless to say - I already can't wait for season 2.0

SiS- If you had a tip to give to "traditional" sports organizations leaders, such as IOC or FIFA leaders, what would it be ?

PD- I would warn them not to sleep on the FCFL because soon it will be all anyone is talking about.

No, but seriously I think its easier said than done but to remember to focus on evolving with their audience. Fans' passion drives sports. Its why we all do what we do, so let's empower them to feel like more a part of the action at every turn. 

Jeese Lovejoy at Beyond Innovation SummitBeyond Innovation Summit
Craig Spence, International Paralympic Committee Chief Marketing & Communications Officer.SiS
Hervé Andre-Benoit, FISE Founder and Hurricane Group CEOSiS
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