SBD/January 11, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Yee, McCaffrey Partnering On New Football League That Takes Players Straight From HS

Yee projects that the average salary and benefits will be around $50,000 for a season
A new L.A.-based pro football league -- Pacific Pro Football -- will give players coming out of high school the opportunity to play for pay, as an alternative to playing college football. The developmental league is the brainchild of Don Yee, the agent for Patriots QB Tom Brady. Yee is partnering with former NFLer Ed McCaffrey to launch Pacific Pro Football’s inaugural season in July '18. The league, which will start with four teams in San Diego and L.A., will operate with a free-market system, meaning it will pay players whatever the market will bear. The league will sign players and allocate them to teams; there will not be a draft. Yee projects that the average salary and benefits will be around $50,000 for a season that includes training camp in June and a six-game regular season in July and August, plus playoffs that could extend the season to as many as eight games. Not all players will be paid the same -- some will command a premium. The Pac Pro will feature athletes who have been out of high school four years or less -- largely players who are not eligible to play in the NFL. Offers are expected to go to prospective players this winter and will also include one year paid tuition and books at local community colleges. In addition to players coming out of high school, Yee envisions players coming to the Pac Pro out of junior college or from college programs where they were not getting a chance to play. The league also could be a place for international players to develop or for D-II or D-III players to show they can play at a higher level. Each team will have a roster of 50 players. In an announcement today from Pac Pro, the league said, “For the first time, emerging football players will have a choice in determining their best path for professional development.” Yee added, “The football industry has not been innovated in a long time.”

BIG NAMES ATTACHED TO LEAGUE: Yee has assembled a roster of power brokers to run the league and advise it. Yee, a longtime agent with Yee & Dubin, will serve as CEO, while McCaffrey and his wife, Lisa, are co-Founders. Former NFL and ESPN exec Bradley Edwards has been appointed COO. Jeffrey Husvar will serve as Chief Communications Officer; he also runs SportsPlus Properties and used to work at Fox Sports and Lagardere. Vita Asset Management Founder John Chung, a senior member with New York Life Investment Management, is CFO. Pac Pro’s advisory board includes several familiar names: former NFL coach Mike Shanahan, former NFL exec Jim Steeg, Fox' Mike Pereira, ESPN's Adam Schefter and Edelman Communication's Steve Schmidt. Pereira is writing the rules for the league. The league claims it has "recently closed its angel round of financing and has begun discussions with content distributors, sponsors, facilities, and local political leaders.” Yee said he believes Pac Pro, which will play its games at a point in the calendar where there is relatively little competition for eyeballs, will be attractive for linear TV, as well as digital.
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