Greg Cote

Indoor Football League becomes first to allow fans to run team

You know how football fans sometimes get frustrated by the coach’s play-calling? Now the opposite might be true. Picture Dolphins coach Adam Gase, annoyed, shaking his head up at the crowd because he can’t believe fans just called a deep pass on 3rd and 1.

Football fans get to call the shots when playing the Madden video game and be in charge of their fantasy football teams, too, of course. But now, for the first time, fans can have a say in the personnel decisions and play-calling of an actual professional team.

The Salt Lake City Eagles of the Indoor Football League (IFL) have become the first franchise operated by Project FANchise, a group that allows fans to join a Virtual Front Office at three price levels. Fans may download an app and register as a Virtual Scout ($9.99 per month), Virtual Coach ($24.99) or Virtual General Manager ($39.99).

The upper two levels include a say (by online vote) in deciding which plays are called.

If the Salt Lake experiment succeeds the Project FANchise format could extend to all 10 teams and see the league, whose first season was 2009, rebranded as the Interactive Footbal League.

Said league commission Michael Allshouse: “The level of access and interaction that fans will have to their football team is unprecedented in the professional sports industry.”

The IFL’s ninth season began in February. The fan-run Screaming Eagles currently have a 1-2 record.

Too soon to fire the fans?