San Diego selected as one of ten cities for new Freedom Football League
A group of 50 former NFL players, including Patrick Henry alumnus Ricky Williams, announced the formation of the new Freedom Football League on Thursday.
The league, which plans on playing its games in the spring and summer, will allow fans to purchase ownership stakes in each of the franchises, a stark contrast from the current ownership structure of the NFL.
Among the cities awarded a franchise was San Diego, as the FFL focuses on cities that do not have an official presence. The team will be known as the San Diego Warriors.
The league sent out the following press release Thursday:
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Freedom Football League (FFL) was formed by a legion of former National Football League (NFL) players with successful careers as entrepreneurs, football operations experts, health and wellness thought-leaders and financial visionaries who are committed to reimagining, rethinking, reinventing and reforming professional American football.
This announcement follows two years of dedicated work and financial investment from a coalition of 50 former players. These early owners and founders of the FFL include former NFL star and Heisman trophy winner Ricky Williams; Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens; two-time Super Bowl Champion tight end Byron Chamberlain; three-time Pro-Bowl defensive end Simeon Rice; four-time NFL Pro-Bowl quarterback Jeff Garcia; Super Bowl Champion and MVP defensive back Dexter Jackson; and many others. The league is designed to attract football players at their highest level of athletic ability, including those defecting from the NFL, graduating college or high school or playing in international or alternative professional football leagues.
There are many wide-ranging issues in today’s professional football landscape, one that has historically been dominated by the NFL. Current NFL ownership, with a market capitalization of over $100 billion is closely-held and controlled by 30+ wealthy billionaire families and generates, on average, over $100 million of annual profits per team per year. This ownership schism creates an exploitative dynamic between owners/front-office personnel and the players and coaches, neglects the long-term health and well-being of the players and gouges the fans with outrageous ticket prices.
By contrast, the FFL will be financed by a combination of private funding and public offerings in 2019. The league will be owned by a unique consortium that includes former NFL players, active players from each FFL team, the local franchise operators and, most uniquely, the fans. All teams will be owned by an authentic alliance of fans and players together, as true owners and legally-committed business partners with perfectly-aligned economic incentives to join forces and build a league that effectively redistributes economic opportunity and unity for all.
The FFL will initially establish teams in ten cities where the NFL does not currently have an official presence, with plans to expand into additional locations based on fan interest at the local level. The first ten teams include The San Diego Warriors, The Oklahoma City Power, The Portland Progress, The Texas Revolution, The Ohio Players, The Florida Strong, The Birmingham Kings, The St. Louis Independence, The Connecticut Underground and The Oakland Panthers (filling the void following the Raiders planned departure for Las Vegas). League play will occur during the spring and summer. All teams will include the opportunity for fans to join the movement by purchasing ownership of the individual teams themselves.
The league is founded upon four philosophical and operational pillars:
-Ensuring players receive permanent and reliable holistic health and wellness support on and off the field, seeking to avoid physical and financial exploitation that is commonplace in both collegiate and professional football today;
-Amplifying the voice(s) of athletes by relentlessly pursuing unity and encouraging athletes to address society’s challenges relating to social justice, wealth disparity, health and wellness and more hot-button issues they are passionate about;
-Reimagining the game for fans by creating a new spectator experience that leverages technology and embraces innovation, while simultaneously eliminating price-gouging to make loyalty and game-attendance affordable again;
-Establishing economic justice via financial incentives through joint ownership and further eliminating financial exploitation and profiteering to the benefit of the few at the expense of many.
“The Freedom Football League is the perfect integration of my passion for social justice, economic equality and health and wellness, with my life-long dedication and love for professional football,” said Ricky Williams, Founding Member and Owner of the Freedom Football League. “As much as I’d like to throw on the pads and play, this league is designed to bring competitive football back to the masses, providing players and fans alike with the economic benefits of owning stake in a team, while also ensuring players are empowered to use their public platform for social good.”