At 41 years of age, former NFL quarterback and four-time Pro Bowl participant Michael Vick is coming out of retirement. According to a Reuters report, the 2010 Comeback Player of the Year is set to join the Fan Controlled Football (FCF) League. There has been no official announcement from the league, but its official Twitter account sent out a tweet Friday quote tweeting the report with the caption “That would be awesome!”
FCF began in 2017 and is a seven-on-seven football league played in a single, high tech studio arena where fans call the plays.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens plays in the league, and the wide receiver’s success is what allegedly sparked interest from Vick.
— LX News (@NBCLX) May 20, 2022
In addition to Vick and Owens, Johnny Manziel also plays in the league. Former Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams and former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant also play in FCF.
Former All-Pro running backs Todd Gurley and Marshawn Lynch have joined FCF as owners. Austin Ekeler, Richard Sherman, Jamal Anderson, Dalvin Cook and Tiki and Ronde Barber are also involved in the league. Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters and former WNBA player Renee Montgomery are also owners.
Athletes have begun to realize their true value in the multibillion sports economy. By pooling their resources they are able to eliminate traditional owners and able to control more of the profits.
The FCF model is interesting because it can be a future model for a player-controlled league. The games are live streamed on Twitch, Peacock, NBCLX, DAZN and Fubo Sports Network.
If the best players in the NBA got together and decided to create their own league it would be widely successful. Owners have power because they own franchises and many exist own arenas and stadiums where you can put these products on for public consumption.
But if players owned franchises, they could change the current sports ownership structure. There would need to be a model of revenue sharing, and contribution. The key is controlling the labor. Playing a game on a soundstage and live streaming eliminates the need for arenas and stadiums.
The players are what people pay to see. They can negotiate their own streaming deal and there’s your revenue for salaries, etc.
Every other industry in the world goes through evolution as technology improves and consumer habits change. Why would sports be any different?
Keep an eye on these new startup leagues and athlete participation. We are beginning to see a fundamental shift in the way sports are being presented to a changing demographic.
Vick was selected first overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 draft. After a very good start to his career with three Pro Bowl selections and leading the team on two playoff runs, one division title, and an NFC Championship Game appearance, his career came to an abrupt halt.
In 2007 Vick pleaded guilty to federal and state charges for his role in an illegal dogfighting enterprise known as “Bad Newz Kennels” and he spent nearly two years in prison in the prime of his football career.
The Philadelphia Eagles signed him after he left prison in 2009 and in 2010 he had a tremendous season, earning the final Pro Bowl selection of his career.
Vick retired in 2017 and since then he has been a coaching intern and an analyst for Fox Sports.