Update: AAF Founder and CEO Charlie Ebersol is refuting the report from The Athletic in new comments made to The Orlando Sentinel. He stated the league always had the money to meet payroll and has never been in financial jeopardy. Ebersol claims Dundon made the $250 million investment because of the league’s positive reviews after only two weeks of its inaugural season and wanted to buy-in and become the league’s biggest investor.
Original story: The Alliance of American Football had a successful debut on February 9 with 3.25 million viewers on CBS but the league nearly folded less than a week later.
According to David Glenn of The Athletic, the upstart professional football league was running short on cash and needed an emergency investment to make payroll.
Carolina Hurricanes majority owner Tom Dundon stepped in to invest $250 million to save the league, landing him the role as chairman of The Alliance’s board of directors.
Dundon invested a majority stake in the Carolina Hurricanes for $420 million in January 2018.
“Without a new, nine-figure investor, nobody is sure what would have happened,” The Athletic wrote.
The hope is that the AAF can look back years from now and can consider what happened “some scary growing pains.” However, they obviously didn’t plan for a financial crisis in week two.
What’s even more interesting is that when paychecks didn’t make it, agents were told it was a glitch and they were switching to a new administrator, according to Darren Rovell. Players have now been paid following the emergency investment, which essentially means the entire league was sold off to Dundon, per Rovell.
The AAF regular season is 10 weeks long before a championship game on April 27, 2019.