The Alliance of American Football is on life support, at least according to a report from NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk.
“All @TheAAF football operations will be suspended in the next few hours,” the PFT Twitter account reported early Tuesday morning.
“League is not folding, yet,” the tweet said. “But it’s heading that way.”
All @TheAAF football operations will be suspended in the next few hours, per source with knowledge of situation. League is not folding, yet. But it’s heading that way.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 2, 2019
For fans who had been enjoying the spring football league, this is unfortunate news.
It’s not abundantly clear what has led to this rapid downward spiral for the once-promising league.
NFL reporter Benjamin Allbright tweeted that this is not a financial issue.
With regard to the AAF, the suspension of operations is not a financial issue.
And the league founders are not in agreement with Tom Dundon on his decision to do so.
More as it comes.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) April 2, 2019
Tom Dundon, the AAF’s majority owner, said the league’s problem is its “inability to secure cooperation from the NFL Players’ Association to use young players from NFL rosters,” USA Today reported Wednesday.
The fact that the AAF would fold solely because the NFL wouldn’t agree on a player-sharing agreement is still very bizarre to me.
— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) April 2, 2019
However, PFT’s Mike Florio indicated the league ran out of money.
“Last night, a source told PFT that the AAF needed roughly $20 million to get to the end of its first season,” Florio wrote. “Instead, the season will end with two weeks left in the regular season, and with a four-team postseason that never comes to fruition.”
According to Rovell, Dundon’s $250 million investment in the league seems to have been a poor business decision, as he stands to lose $70 million.
Sources: The AAF will suspend all football operations today. New owner Tom Dundon will lose approximately $70 million on his investment. Dundon makes decision against wishes of league co-founders Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 2, 2019
Dundon, who also owns the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, had reserved the right to withdraw his investment, according to PFT. There is obviously speculation that he has exercised that right.
If the AAF folds, it’s a sad fate for a league that came out of the gates with quite a bit of excitement.
With the fate of the AAF very much in flux, questions have naturally arisen over the fate of another spring football league slated to debut next year: the rebooted XFL.
If the @TheAAF could generate so much hype and attention (relatively speaking) and not survive a season, how on earth is the XFL going to make it?
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) April 2, 2019
To that end, a separate PFT report should assuage some of those early concerns.
According to PFT, XFL founder and pro wrestling magnate Vince McMahon has sold $272 million worth of WWE stock to ensure that the XFL can survive for more than one season.
In fact, McMahon has said he’s willing to spend $500 million over the XFL’s first three seasons.
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