Fan Vote May Name Football Team ‘Teamy McTeamface’

An expansion Utah Indoor Football League is taking online marketing to its most bizarre level yet

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May 25, 2016 at 11:35 AM ET

Remember last week when the Double-A Binghamton Mets announced that an online vote would determine the team’s new moniker? The choices were purportedly culled from the city’s historical underpinnings as “the carousel capital of the world,” but let’s be honest, they all just sound like sweaty, animalistic euphemisms for sex?

Well, the owners of an expansion team in the Indoor Football League have upped the ante, offering a grand buffet of 160 nicknames fans can “like.” The list will eventually be narrowed down to a top 10, but as of Wednesday morning, the Utah Stormin’ Mormons had netted 720 votes, leading by 40 over… wait for it… Utah Teamy McTeamface.

While the public vote to name a British research vessel “Boaty McBoatface” was summarily overturned despite receiving an overwhelming 124,000 tallies, the Utah franchise’s CEO, Sohrob Farudi, told the Salt Lake City Tribune that he will act as a true servant of open democracy, regardless of the final result. “If the fans want Teamy McTeamface, then we’re going to be the Utah Teamy McTeamface,” he said.

But that’s not all. They’re crowdsourcing pretty much every aspect of the front office, from designing the uniforms and picking out the cheerleaders, to scouting players and actually calling plays. All you need to do is pony up a few dollars of disposable income.

For example, if you donate $250, “YOU WILL BE AN ASSISTANT DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR FOR THE TEAM COMPLETE WITH BUSINESS CARDS AND YOUR PROFILE ON OUR WEBSITE & PROGRAM,” the all-caps festooned Kickstarter campaign blared. “This is a real experience you can add to your resume and LinkedIn. You DO NOT need to live in Utah to participate! You’ll never have a better chance to break into the coaching world. ALSO INCLUDES SuperFAN status.”

Do they have an app? Of course they do. A “sick app” as they describe it on Kickstarter, where you log in and earn points for nifty, football-ish decisions, thus increasing your FanIQ™, unlocking higher levels of decision-making authority, all the while insisting, nay, pleading, that this is a real, honest-to-goodness team, and not just a multi-layered online marketing ploy.

They’ve raised a little over $55,000 so far, but despite the online self-promotion screaming that Project FANchise—as they’re calling it—represents “the greatest thing that’s ever happened to sports,” it’s hard to imagine IFL players, already clinging to the seriously steep odds they’ll be able work their way up from an obscure, third-tier minor football league to the bright lights of the NFL, will enjoy being pawns in this pandering experiment.

Though they don’t have a single athlete on the roster and won’t kick off until early 2017, Farudi’s pretty confident that about half of the professionals will be totally cool with it, because exposure. However, he does admit that the other 50 percent will resist and say, “there’s no way in heck I’m going to allow fans to decide my fate.”

And should online pranksters decide to have a little fun by trolling a pro sports team into having the punter run a triple-reverse option pass on fourth and 22 while deep in their own territory? Farudi doesn’t seem too concerned.

“The vast majority of people that spend time on this will take it very seriously and rally around each other,” he told GeekWire.

You know, the same vast majority armed with serious, deep-bore football knowledge that wants to name them Teamy McTeamface.