By 2018, backers of the Pacific Pro Football League hope to have their circuit up and running, allowing to act as something of a feeder to the NFL.
Plans are taking shape for the Pacific Pro Football League to begin play in 2018, with four teams in Southern California competing over a summer schedule that includes six regular season contests plus playoffs. Agent Don Yee, who represents Tom Brady, among others, is one of the key people behind the league, which includes a long list of notable investors and advisors.
Yee, who has previously argued that NCAA players deserve monetary compensation, is stating that the league will attract college-age players. Rather than incorporating former NFL players, as some development-type leagues have done in the past, the Pacific Pro Football League would offer a professional alternative to college athletes by paying players and operating more closely to the style of NFL organizations.
While there have been signs that the NFL may take a closer look at launching a development league, alternative leagues have come and gone over the years. The NCAA still provides a major spotlight for players, and the Canadian Football League offers some alternatives of its own.
For right now, those behind the Pacific Pro Football League are stating that they think it it will have a chance for success, but state that making financial sense of the circuit remains a priority. More from The New York Times:
Yee acknowledged that his venture was risky, something his advisers have echoed. Fans already have a lot of options for watching college and professional football, and just paying for the necessary training facilities and transportation could be enough to bankrupt a new league.
“I’ve danced with at least three of these groups before, but money was always what killed them,” said Jim Steeg, who is an unpaid adviser to Yee and ran the Super Bowl for the N.F.L. for decades.
Steeg estimated that between $5 million and $7 million would be needed to cover the costs of each team for one season, along with a comparable sum to run the league office.
Still, Steeg was encouraged that Yee was starting small and aiming for a unique pool of players, and that he had already received funding from an “angel” investor. Yee said he hoped to attract enough money in the next phase of fund-raising to cover the cost of a first season.
With most leagues having something of a development system, it is not implausible to believe that the NFL will eventually have a stable league from which it can sign players. Time will tell, however, if the Pacific Pro Football League can serve that purpose while attracting players who may otherwise join the NCAA.