Pacific Pro looks to offer alternate route to pro football
NFL agent Don Yee envisions his Pacific Pro Football league as an alternative route to professional football — one that does not go through college.
Set to begin play in July 2020 with a four-team pod in Southern California, the league will draw players from high schools and community colleges in addition to international athletes looking for an entry to pro football.
The projected average annual salary and benefits package for an eight-game season is $50,000, but the league will negotiate with each player separately.
It is Yee’s hope that his product will ultimately be viewed as the superior way to prepare players for the pros.
“The product will be specifically designed and curated so that the players are prepared for NFL football,” Yee said. “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.”
Adidas, a founding partner and exclusive footwear and apparel supplier of the league, is helping rebrand Pacific Pro Football and its marks.
“This is an example of how [Adidas] has really embedded in the project,” Yee said. “They’re not just taking orders for sizes on T-shirts and jerseys, they’re actually really infusing the league with Adidas’ DNA from a branding standpoint.”
The league announced last week a contract with South Korea-based tech firm I-On Communications for website development/management as well as player, coach and audience analytics.
Former NFL player Ed McCaffrey will serve as commissioner of Pacific Pro Football, with former NFL Network executive Jamie Hemann serving as CEO. Hemann was an attractive get for the league as he was the point man for the network with outside, third-party potential media partners for linear and digital. Yee said no deals are in the works yet with the network regarding media rights. He added the orientation for broadcasting games initially will be toward streaming, with some potential linear component on top of that.
“One of the key components for us is ascending talent,” Yee said. “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.”