Ebersol: AAF Players Can Make Limitless Amounts Of Money

AAF players have guaranteed contracts – and incentives to make more

The DA Show
September 20, 2018 - 10:49 am

USA Today Images

Alliance of American Football Founder and CEO Charlie Ebersol dropped by CBS Sports Radio to discuss his new league, which begins February 2019. 

The AAF has eight teams – including the Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, and Orlando Apollos – and will feature a 12-week season, a four-team playoff, and a championship game in late-April.

“People are drawn to great football,” Ebersol said on The DA Show. “If you can put quality football on the field, they want to show up. So what we focused on was football, football, football.”

Co-founder Bill Polian has helped recruit several high-profile coaches to the AAF, including Brad Childress, Mike Singletary, Steve Spurrier, Rick Neuheisel, and Mike Martz.

All players have three-year contracts worth a guaranteed $250,000. They will receive $70,000 in the first year, $80,000 in the second, and $100,000 in the third. They also have incentives to make more.

“We have built a digital platform that is the most robust in professional sports, which allows players to be bonus-ed off of fan interaction,” Ebersol explained. “So if a fan picks a player on a fantasy platform or in a bet – and you'll be able to have in-game betting on our platform – the players actually make money on top of their regular-season salary, which is as high or just short of the NFL practice-squad salary. They’ll be able to make money every time they get picked on a fantasy team, every time they get picked on a bet, every time a fan likes them on Facebook. 

“So we’ve designed a system that we think is reflective of the modern era where players literally make limitless amounts of money if they engage with our platform in the right way with their fans,” Ebersol continued. “One of the things that I think the mistake has been is that as professional sports have gotten bigger and bigger, the players have seen their salaries grow to a degree and then stagnate while the valuations of franchises have exploded. So what we looked to do is create a dynamic system in which the player is rewarded.”

Ebersol cited Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster as an example.

“He’s built hundreds of thousands of followers on YouTube and built a real meaningful business, but he isn’t really benefitting from that directly,” Ebersol said. “In our league, they’d make a lot of money in that situation.”