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Yet another minor league football option has fallen by the wayside

It was not all that long ago we had four minor league football start-ups either in operation or on their way. Now we're down to one.

You know of the twin demises of the Alliance of American Football and the XFL, the would-be rivals that both failed to reach the end of their inaugural seasons, for entirely different reasons.

Now, a third spring league has ended before it began.

Don Yee, best known as Tom Brady's agent, told Sports Business Journal he is pivoting his own start-up football league, which would have been known as Pacific Pro Football. The four-team league would have been similar to the NBA's G League in that it would compete with college football for top talent that was not yet eligible to join the NFL. And compete was used lightly: the PPFL would pay players $50,000 per year while covering their tuition at a local community college.

The format would have been similar to the one surviving minor league, the Spring League, which runs for just three weeks in a single location each March.

But it turns out all that was too hefty a bill for Yee and his partners to meet, as the league never received adequate funding.

Instead, Yee told SBJ he is transitioning to something of a training camp model -- aspiring NFL players will gather for a week of practice under "NFL-caliber" coaches, then play a game at the end of the week. Yee would stage two events per month in June and July, starting next summer, with, presumably, the goal being to get players on NFL rosters for the upcoming season.

Yee said he plans to fund the effort himself, yet he is seeking sponsorship and media rights partners. It's not clear what would be in it for sponsors, given the practices and games will be held without fans, as the market would solely be NFL teams. (I'll admit I'm not sure where the revenue is generated here. Are NFL teams paying to watch these guys practice? And if so, why would they?)

“I do think this concept will be a welcome game-changer and innovation for the industry, particularly since there hasn’t been any innovation to the talent supply pipeline at all in decades,” Yee said. “If this is successful, this will become the norm for the player that has an NFL future. Not every player does, but for those that do, we foresee this being the standard approach.”

Yee says he is committed to filling the market gap between college football and the NFL, since American football is without any sort of safety net. He's right of course, with the Canadian Football League possibly on life support, the AAF and the XFL gone.

Yee thinks he can fill that gap not by mimicking the NFL games, but NFL training camps.

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