Among The Startup Football League Frenzy, Don Yee Looks To Cash In
It’s been two weeks since the New England Patriots won Super Bowl LIII, which concluded the NFL season. However, a week later, football was back!
According to many football fanatics, the Alliance of American Football (AAF) exceeded expectations during their inaugural games last weekend. In an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, AAF Co-Founder, Bill Polian said, “It exceed my expectations both from competitive standpoint and from a physical standpoint.” However, Bill Polian along with Co-Founder Charlie Ebersol and XFL founder, Vince McMahon weren’t the first to unveil the concept of new professional football leagues.
Back in January 2017, NFL agent, Don Yee, along with Co-Founders Ed and Lisa McCaffrey, announced the formation of the Pacific Pro Football League. Don Yee, longtime NFL agent, envisioned a league that bypassed college.
Set to kickoff its inaugural season in July 2020, the professional league will consist of a four-team pod in Southern California. With a projected salary of $50,000 for an eight-game season, the league will draw players from high schools, community colleges as well as international athletes. In an article with the Sports Business Journal, Yee said, “The product will be specifically designed and curated so that the players are prepared for NFL football. Whether it’s the hashmarks on the field, the rule book, the style of play, the practice protocols, everything will be designed so that the players will have a very short learning curve when they become eligible for the NFL.”
According to their official website (www.pacificprofootball.com), the goal of Pacific Pro “is to be the first league to professionalize players who are less than 4 years removed from their high school graduation. Players will receive a salary, benefits, and even paid tuition and books for one year at community college.” For example, young superstars such as Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, who isn’t NFL Draft eligible until 2021, could choose to play in the Pacific Pro Football League, where he could be compensated for his talents until he is able to be drafted by an NFL organization.
The Pacific Pro Football League signed Adidas to a multiyear sponsorship in 2018 to become the exclusive footwear and apparel supplier. Last week, Yee announced that a contract was signed between the new league and a South Korean-based tech firm I-On Communications for website development and player, coach and audience analytics.
Among the new league’s advisory board includes 3x Super Bowl Champion, Mike Shanahan as well as former VP of Officiating NFL and current FOX Sports Analyst, Mike Pereira.
Ed McCaffrey will serve as the commissioner while former NFL Network executive, Jamie Hemann, will serve as CEO.
Longtime agent, Don Yee, will rely heavily on high school talent to not only provide a good product on the field but to promote the new league off the field as well. Yee said, “One of the key components for us is ascending talent. These prominent high school football players already have pretty significant social media followings, so that’s going to be a big ingredient in the strategy.”
In addition to the AAF and the XFL, It will be exciting to see Yee’s vision unfold. For Yee’s own personal benefit, perhaps this league will produce a future client similar to the success of his longtime client and 6-time Super Bowl Champion QB, Tom Brady? Only time will tell.