Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Will There Be Sports Betting on the FCFL?

On Monday, May 14, the Supreme Court announced that they had ruled PASPA (the federal ban on sports betting) unconstitutional.  This means that, effective immediately, individual states can determine the legal status of sport betting, unless congress chooses to pass a regulatory framework for it.  Many states are expected to move rapidly to legalize sports betting, with New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Mississippi, New York and Pennsylvania expected to be among the early adopters.  New Jersey’s Monmouth Racetrack hopes to offer sports betting as soon as May 28th, although there are some open questions about whether this will be possible.

On the question of whether there SHOULD be sports betting on the FCFL, I strongly believe that the answer is ‘not yet’.  With player salaries initially quite low, there’s definitely going to be an incentive (or a perception of incentive) for unscrupulous gamblers to bribe players or even for players to bet against their own team and then contribute to their team losing.  This will be a particularly big problem for “prop bets” where gamblers can bet on the outcome of a specific statistical category.  There was a recent case in England, where a player in the fourth division (possibly low enough that his soccer income wasn’t enough to live on without supplemental income) tipped off friends and family that he would get a yellow card for fouling an opponent.  Anything this easy for one individual to manipulate shouldn’t be subject to wagers, particularly if the players involved aren’t making many times more in salary than the potential size of any bets.

That said, it likely won’t be up to the FCFL whether betting on its games occurs.  Given that the regulators in the U.S. and other countries appear unlikely to treat different leagues differently based on their size, each sportsbook will make the decision of whether to offer betting on the FCFL.  The good news is that the market may do a fairly good job here.  Initially, while player salaries are very low, there simply won’t be enough demand for betting on FCFL to entice them to offer betting.  As demand grows, sportsbooks will begin offering FCFL bets, but will likely start with harder to manipulate propositions such as betting on which team will win.  Salaries will likely begin rising as well, making small bribes less appealing to players.  By the time crazy prop bets (such as the ‘yellow card’ example mentioned earlier) become available, FCFL salaries should be high enough that there isn’t as much incentive to manipulate game outcomes. There may be a somewhat scary transition period where league popularity outpaces player salaries, but hopefully it will be brief and the sportsbooks will exercise good judgment in what bet types to offer.  It’s in their best interest to avoid any scandals too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

FCFL Partnership Updates

The FCFL announced three major partnerships last week.  Each of these is important on its own, and combined they will provide FCFL broadcasts with the exposure and the polish that they’ll need to get millions of fans involved.

The first (and least surprising) is a partnership with Twitch.  This will provide fans with a great platform for viewing FCFL games and for interacting with the games (by making in-game decisions) and with each other.  I also have a great deal of respect for Amazon (Twitch’s parent company) and think that FCFL has definitely put themselves in a great position to succeed by aligning with them.  This will be the first ‘traditional’ sports league that broadcasts its games on Twitch (which also broadcasts most major esports leagues), and as such, should be an important project from Twitch’s point of view.

Production of the broadcasts will be handled by IMG – the same company that owns the UFC.  This should ensure a high quality to the production.  No chance of a single viewpoint provided by a shaky cameraman using his cell phone!

Entertainment industry titan CAA will also be involved with FCFL, although it’s slightly less clear exactly what they’ll be doing.  It appears that they’ll assist with involvement in a variety of partnerships and distribution ventures.  As more details become clear, I’ll be sure to share them in future articles.

From my point of view, these partnerships are great news, with each of them likely to contribute to the FCFL’s success.  The only potential downside is that partners of this importance may have demands or place constraints on the FCFL which could potentially lead to a slower (although ultimately more successful) rollout of the league. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Brief Updates

I'm back from vacation and will be posting regularly again.

The big FCFL news from while I was away is that games will be broadcasted on Twitch with production done by IMG.  Here's an article from the Washington Post:

Two items buried in the article:

  • It mentions that games will begin 'next year'.  Not sure if that means 2019, or just "next season" in a general sense, as I haven't seen any announcements about a delay from the original plan of Q3 2018.
  • It mentions 7v7 football.  I'm assuming that's just an assumption and not necessarily accurate, as the vote on 7v7 vs 8v8 shouldn't be taking place until sometime after the token sale.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

FCFL Vote Allocation Structures: Part 3

In my previous two articles about vote allocation structures, I described some of the goals of vote allocation and some of the possible types of structures that could be used in the FCFL Which approach do I think is best?

Overall, I think the approach of “one token, one vote…with penalty for large holders” will do the best job of accomplishing the goals (or what should be the goals) of the FCFL

Keep in mind that both the voting mechanism and the exactly distribution of tokens should be completely transparent.  That means that fans will have complete visibility into the voting, and they’ll know exactly when their vote (and the tokens they’ve purchased) are making a difference and how much of a difference they’re making.

Any system in which voting power is based on ranked holdings of tokens isn’t optimal because there will be many users for whom extra tokens are worthless.  For example, let’s say I have 100,000 tokens and the next fan ahead of me has 200,000 tokens.  In a voting structure based on ranked holdings, the next 99,999 tokens that I could purchase are worthless to me.  That’s a situation that the FCFL should be trying to avoid.

In addition, any system based on “one token, one vote” where large token holders aren’t penalized will theoretically allow individuals or small groups of individuals to control all votes.  That effectively makes 49.99% of tokens worthless, which is another situation that the FCFL should seek to prevent.

That leaves only one option from among my original suggestions: “one token, one vote with penalty for large holders”.  In a future article, I’ll get into the details of how that might work.