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Volume 21 No. 43
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In his words: Don Yee, CEO & Founder, Pacific Pro Football

Over the last half-dozen years, at least, there’s been an explosion of different content distributors and platforms, particularly in the digital arena, many of whom desire live football games but they’re not able to access it.

We’ve seen rising consciousness among players at the college level. … Those players would like to have a different option available to them that’s presently available in every other sport. Every sport except football has an early professional path.

There are lots of sponsors and technology companies that would like to align with a football product, but the barrier to entry at the NFL and NCAA level is very, very high. It’s very difficult for them to enter the business, test products, get data and advance their product development.

Within the college football ecosystem, you have a group of haves and have-nots, and the sponsorship dollars and the television dollars are chasing the haves, meaning the power five. Over the next few years, there may be many have-nots that will be confronted with the decision on whether they can afford to continue to play college football. We’re already seeing it at some level where four Arizona junior colleges will eliminate football programs, and they supplied a lot of football players to power five programs. We also saw a case at the University of Cincinnati where four-year students would spend almost $5,000 each to subsidize football, even if they never went to a game.

People in the artistic space see that programming like “Last Chance U,” or “Hard Knocks” or ESPN’s draft shows … fans enjoy hearing about the journey these players take.

— Michael Smith