NISA Partners with Firm Cutting Edge Capital to Offer Fans Stake in Pro Clubs

Chicago, Saturday, January 6, 2018: Speaking at a Town Hall event for Eric Wynalda, National Independent Soccer Association Co-Founder Peter Wilt announced the creation of a program to form fan owned soccer clubs throughout the United States.

NISA and its partner on the initiative, national investment crowdfunding firm Cutting Edge Capital, will help communities build soccer clubs founded and partially owned by fans. The initiative uses recently approved crowdfunding equity legislation. The program will be available to new and existing clubs. Clubs will be able to join NISA, add a fan ownership component and truly become part of the fabric of their communities.

“This is a historic direction for an American professional sports league,” Wilt said. “It serves two important purposes. First, it creates the platform for new clubs to raise the seed capital needed to launch a new pro soccer club for their market. Second, and more importantly, this initiative will connect these clubs with the fabric of their community, build a foundation of support and ensure they never leave for a different city.”

“This isn’t for all clubs,” NISA Co-Founder and General Counsel Jack Cummins said. “Some will still want to control 100 percent of their ownership. However, for others, having fan ownership [ranging from 10 percent on up] will strengthen the connections to their communities. This is another important step to develop a league that conforms to what has worked time and again in the global game,” Cummins continued. “Eliminating entry fees and territorial restrictions, having fan ownership in teams, and promotion and relegation are NISA’s keys to revolutionizing soccer in the United States.”

NISA and Cutting Edge Capital will develop community ownership initiatives (COI) in American markets. Charter league applicant Chattanooga FC who is working with Cutting Edge Capital on a community ownership initiative introduced Cutting Edge Capital to NISA. Those interested in starting a COI for a new or existing club can contact Wilt at peter@nisaofficial.com.

“Community is essential to the sustainable growth and continuous support of sports leagues throughout the country,” said Cutting Edge Capital president John Katovich. “Many soccer leagues have maintained strong community bases since inception — a community ownership initiative created to foster the growth of soccer leagues throughout the U.S. is the next step in the process to build even more engaged and thriving communities of soccer fans and clubs throughout the country.” NISA’s use of crowdfunding equity for its clubs is possible due to the 2016 enactment of Title III of the JOBS Act (aka Regulation Crowdfunding, or Reg CF). For the last 80+ years, private companies typically only raised capital from accredited investors (about 7 percent of the wealthiest American family households). On April 5, 2012, President Barack Obama signed the landmark JOBS Act, allowing entrepreneurs to go to the crowd and publicly advertise their capital raises. On May 16, 2016, Title III of the JOBS Act began, which allows private early-stage businesses to raise funds from anyone in the United States. This means soccer clubs, like any other startup, can use a low-cost equity crowdfunding tool to turn their fans into investors.

Reg CF allows companies to raise funds online via approved platforms from their early adopters and the public. However, instead of providing investors a reward such as a t-shirt or a hat, investors receive shares, generally equity, in the startups they support.

Cutting Edge will work with NISA to design a uniform offering approach, which will be provided to each prospective market. They will then work with each prospective market in reviewing the club’s offering documents. There are certain prerequisites for each potential market, including:

  • Agreement to use Regulation Crowdfunding rules and a single recommended intermediary platform
  • Establish or transition to a C corporation
  • Offer either common or preferred shares to potential investors
  • Amend articles and by-laws, as necessary to authorize the shares to be offered
  • Meet NISA’s stated eligibility requirements

The announcement of the community ownership initiative came during a speech Wilt gave offering NISA’s endorsement of US Soccer Presidential candidate Eric Wynalda. The full text of Wilt’s speech at the Town Hall hosted by the Illinois State Soccer Association is available here.

About The National Independent Soccer Association: NISA is a United States based professional soccer league preparing to launch in the spring of 2019. The League is committed to a model that conforms to the global game by eliminating entry fees and territorial restrictions, having fan owned teams, and using promotion and relegation to bring high level, competitive professional soccer with meaningful games. For more information about NISA visit www.NISAOfficial.com or contact Peter Wilt at peter@nisaofficial.com or by phone at 317-292-7993 or 312-464-9842. Follow NISA on Twitter @NISAleague.

About Cutting Edge Capital: Cutting Edge Capital (CEC) provides businesses and nonprofits with the information, tools, and expertise they need to raise capital in a way that fits with their unique business model and long-term goals. As experienced business lawyers, entrepreneurs, and finance experts, the CEC team has identified capital raising strategies that allow businesses to solicit non-traditional sources of funding. These strategies allow businesses to build public support and recognition while raising funds. To learn more, visit cuttingedgecapital.com or email info@cuttingedgecapital.com.