The Alliance of American Football, backed in part by Thiel's Founders Fund and set to kick off in February 2019, claims to offer increased player safety and a more convenient fan experience, with the aid of a mobile app that will host live streamed games. It will start with eight teams in as-yet-unnamed cities and each will play 10 regular-season games.
Live sports ratings on traditional cable networks have fallen in recent years as over-the-top streaming services gain momentum and consumers cut the cord.
CBS has signed on as the official TV partner for the new league, airing two games in primetime on CBS and a host of other regular season games on CBS Sports Network. The majority of the matchups will seemingly be live on the app.
NBC veteran Dick Ebersol has also signed onto the project and will sit on the board of directors.
Thiel, a PayPal co-founder, Facebook director and prominent start-up investor, has been publicly pulling away from Silicon Valley and shifting his investment focus. Founders Fund did not immediately return a request for comment from CNBC.
Other investors in the new eight-team league include Slow Ventures, The Chernin Group and venture capitalist Keith Rabois, who worked for Thiel at PayPal.