Pacific Pro League CEO Don Yee Talks Potential Roster Makeup, Content Distribution
NFL agent and Pacific Pro League CEO Don Yee yesterday appeared on ESPN to discuss the new independent football league, saying the players will come from "high school graduates," "top community college players" and Division 1 players perhaps not receiving quality playing time. Yee said other players included on rosters could be those "who have excelled as a freshman or sophomore at a major Division 1 school who may desire in that third year to play professionally, start marketing themselves immediately and start putting together funds for a retirement." Yee: "The final pool we believe, frankly, will be international players." Yee notes his research over the years made it "very apparent that athletes from around the world in many different sports become professionalized at a much younger age." Yee: "If you actually look around the range of sports from around the world ... almost every other industry sector has some type of pathway to professionalism for young athletes." Meanwhile, Yee said there are a "number of different content distribution options" and there are "numerous content distributors out there that are looking for live sports inventory, but the barriers to entry at other products is much, much higher." Yee: "We feel very confident that we're going to be able to attract that type of distribution." ESPN's Mark Schlabach said the Pac Pro "can work." Schlabach: "I don't think it's going to compete with college football, and I don't think that is their expectation." Schlabach said there is a "population of high school players out there that for whatever reason aren't equipped to go to college, don't have interest in going to college, may not be qualified academically. I think it's a good option for them." Schlabach added, "It's a viable option if it's done the right way" ("OTL," ESPN, 1/11).
WHAT WILL BE DIFFERENT? VICE SPORTS' Patrick Hruby in a Q&A with Yee asked what he had learned from other organization's attempts to "launch independent football leagues" having "mixed success at best." Yee: "We have done a lot of research into those other attempts. Not just football but other sports. One of the things we realized is that while other football leagues haven't succeeded in the long term, many succeeded in the short term in various ways" (SPORTS.VICE.com, 1/11).