Seattle sports fans waiting for the NHL to drop the first puck in the city, or for the NBA to get wise and return, have another professional team to pay attention to as The Crown League, the first professional fantasy sports league, unveiled the Seattle Emerald Haze as its latest franchise.
The league’s opening season begins in September, and with team shares provided to the public, the hook is that everyday fans will get to experience what it’s like to invest in a pro sports team.
“Nearly 60 million people in North America participated in fantasy sports last year, and fantasy football is an integral part of the cultural landscape,” Dan Nissanoff, The Crown League’s co-founder and CEO, said in a news release Friday. “We’re excited to revolutionize the way fans experience fantasy by creating the first professional league that combines the competitiveness of pro sports with the appeal of investments and ownership.”
The Seattle Emerald Haze — named in what appears to be some sort of nod to Jimi Hendrix and legal weed — join 11 other franchises for the debut season, and the names are equally entertaining: Florida Mangos Wild, Los Angeles Drive, Philadelphia Powderkegs, Sin City Bad Babies, Texas Holy Smokers, Denver Moguls, Atlanta Hot Wings, New York Bodega Cats, Chicago Hogmollies, and New England Cape Gods. The 12th team location will be determined by public vote, accessible on this page.
A 13-game schedule is already visible on the Emerald Haze team page, as is merchandise with the team logo which will be available for purchase soon.
Each of the franchises will be managed by a professional general manager and front office comprised of industry experts from leading sports media properties such as Sports Illustrated, numberFIRE, Rotowire and Pro Football Focus, former NFL players and scouts, and more. They will be responsible for the day-to-day management of rosters.
Fans who opt in as owners (shareholders) can have a say in such things as draft selection, lineup decisions, waiver transactions and trade proposals by using a dedicated app that allows them to communicate with the front office. GMs will make the final team decisions but they will be accountable to owners who can ultimately decide to retain or replace them.
“By making pro sports ownership accessible to the masses, we’re giving fans the power they’ve always wanted – a say in their team’s direction and the potential financial rewards to go along with it,” Crown League co-founder Derek Siskin said in a statement. “Despite the passion fantasy sports inspires, its structure has never allowed for the kind of rabid team-based fandom that exists in every other pro sport. That’s the type of community and shared experience we intend to create.”
There are other groups who use technology to help fans control the action that they root for, including the Fan Controlled Football League, which allows fans to have a say in everything from play-calling to hiring general managers.
Melissa Jacobs, The Crown League’s first female GM, will lead the way for Seattle, with Pat Fitzmaurice assisting as co-GM. Jacobs is the founder and managing editor of The Football Girl, a media outlet that makes the NFL and fantasy football more accessible for women. She was previously an NFL editor at SI.com, a producer at ESPN and later a fantasy expert for espnW.
The league says it plans to generate original content to keep owners and fans updated throughout the season and enhance the experience of rooting for each franchise, including daily analysis of matchups, teams, GMs and their moves.
The league anticipates that shares in each team — minimum investment of one share at $60 — will be available for public purchase in late June, but notes that purchase will only be permitted after the SEC “qualifies” the offerings (see disclaimer at bottom). View filings for each team here.
And learn more about some of the high-profile fantasy football fanatics and the extended team behind The Crown League here — they include such sports and business personalities as Joel Litvin, former NBA president of League Operations; Happy Walters, longtime sports agent; Mike Levy, CBS Sportsline founder; and Ryan Mundy, veteran NFL player and entrepreneur.
The Crown League provided the following disclaimer regarding SEC proposed offerings:
No money or other consideration is being solicited, and if sent in response, will not be accepted.
No offer to buy the securities can 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.