With the creation of FAN Token, which will fuel internal economies of decentralized professional sports league economies starting with the Fan Controlled Football League, the power of blockchain is being unleashed to turn passive fans into active contributors to their team’s success. FCFL fans will manage everything from personnel, to team branding, to scouting opponents, and of course calling plays in real time. Since FAN Token will be driving these interactions, we will have a transparent view into the successes and failures of every single decision made by each fan.
How many yards did your run plays yield? How many touchdowns came from passing plays you called? Did your trade proposal get accepted and subsequently provide a boost to your team’s defensive production? We will be swimming in fan-centric data, and the results will be highly publicized. The best fans will be rewarded for their efforts (with both weekly recognition and, most prominently, a cut of the $1 Million purse that goes to the league champion).
FAN Token will help create a revolution in how we think of the role of the fan, and with our public Fan Leaderboard, the “best” fans (or those who demonstrate the strongest aptitude in their given sport) will be as well-recognized as the players themselves.
But our fans won’t be the first prominent supporters of professional sports. Through the years, there have been several passionate supporters who have gained recognition for their fandom, for myriad reasons. Who might these folks be?
Let’s take a look:
Perhaps no fan is as strongly associated with a professional sports league (and in particular, one organization) as Spike Lee is with the NBA and the New York Knicks. In recent years, the Knicks’ utter ineptitude as a franchise has rendered Spike’s prominence as a fan a bit less influential, but make no mistake, during the 1990s, Spike Lee WAS the New York Knicks – as important a figure as any individual outside of Patrick Ewing – and his nightly court-side seats guaranteed him ample face time on the television broadcast.
Spike Lee was such an influential presence in the 1990s that many credit him (or rather, blame him) for Reggie Miller’s miraculous performance to beat the Knicks in the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals. Spike’s constant trash talk sparked Miller to go on an historic run and singlehandedly take down New York. The feud would later be featured in the ESPN 30 for 30 film Winning Time.
Runner up for prominent NBA fan goes to Jack Nicholson, who similarly has been a staple (pun intended) at Lakers games for decades, but who doesn’t quite have the same history of inserting himself into the action as does Mr. Lee.
Waaay distant runner runner up goes to Drake, who in recent years has tried very hard to integrate himself into the NBA world, but who is a notoriously flaky try-hard fan. Sorry Drake, you are no Spike.
Speaking of court-side seats earning face time, no fan has acquired the immediate recognition in the era of social media quite like Marlins Man (aka Laurence Leavy), who seems to be sitting directly behind home plate of every single important MLB game (and even extends beyond baseball). His bright orange Marlins attire and visor certainly help catch the viewer’s eye as well, and his intense personal marketing campaign (and his constant acknowledgement of the troops!) help fuel something of a cult following. USA Today called him the “ubiquitous superfan.”
Marlins Man has managed to make himself a household name in baseball circles even as his favorite team continues to do seemingly everything in their power to piss off their fans. Quite an achievement, really. He recently gained some further notoriety for giving new Marlins President Derek Jeter a piece of his mind at a gathering of season ticket holders.
As famously reported by the Pardon My Take podcast (with whom Marlins Man frequently holds phone calls while in the stands at big games), Marlins Man has something of a public beef with another prominent fan – one who has earned his fame not through expensive tickets and wardrobe, but through sheer hustle, even if his shtick rubs many other fans the wrong way. That individual goes by the nom de guerre of…
Foul Ball Guy
Or Zachary Hample, according to his birth certificate. Zack claims to have collected over 10,000 baseballs from MLB games, including such historic balls as Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit, Barry Bonds’s 724th career home run, and Mike Trout’s first ever home run. During the final weekend of the old Yankee Stadium, with millions of eyeballs tuned into the action, Hample managed to snag home run balls in consecutive games (from Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon) – launching him into national recognition. He has been featured on ESPN, HBO’s Real Sports, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, The Evening News with Katie Couric, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and a host of other national programs. Conan O’Brien once him during a taping of Late Night that he thought Hample was “the worst man in America.”
But he certainly does know how to snag a ball.
Sure, he is a grown man running around stealing baseballs that might otherwise go to children (often seen bumping kids out of his way), and yes, he is unabashedly full of himself… but the man flat out gets the job done. He makes more appearances on Sportscenter than Scott Van Pelt and has a preternatural sense of time and place.
If there is a significant baseball game on TV, chances are you will find Marlins Man behind home plate and Foul Ball Guy in the bleachers catching a home run.
But not all famous fans are individuals. College basketball has the Cameron Crazies, the Duke students who ditch their dorms and tent outside for months during the North Carolina winter just to snag a seat for the season finale against rival UNC. The MLB has the Lovable Losers, as Cubs fans have been known for over a century (until their recent World Series victory, of course). The original football has scores of passionate fans whose fandom literally controls their existences (and sometimes dips into outright hooliganism).
The NFL has many famous fan bases, including the social media-friendly #BillsMafia and their love for destroying plastic tables during tailgates; the Hogettes of the 1980s, a group of Washington Redskins fans who would dress up in skirts, party hats, and pig snouts to support their historic offensive line known as the “Hogs;” the “12th Man,” as Seahawks fans are described, who are known for their sheer volume of noise, most notably during Marshawn Lynch’s victory-sealing touchdown run against the Saints in the 2010 NFL playoffs known as the “Beast Quake;” and of course the infamous Black Hole of the Oakland Raiders, perhaps the most dangerous of all fan bases.
But only one fan base actually OWNS their franchise:
The NFL is the most powerful professional sports league in North America, and one of its most prominent franchises somehow resides in a little town in Wisconsin called Green Bay. This remains one of the most inexplicable realities in all of sports.
The Acme Packers (named for the Acme Packing Company) joined the American Professional Football Association in 1921, before the NFL even existed. To this day, there is no harder seat to grab than a season ticket at Lambeau Field, where fans literally wait lifetimes trying to get into what is safely described as the biggest event in Green Bay.
The Packers have been a publicly-owned nonprofit since 1923, and their fans, known as the Cheeseheads for obvious reasons, can rightly claim to be the closest thing to Fan-Controlled Fans in all of professional sports…
That is, until the FCFL kicks off!