Archive for the ‘AAF’ Category

Tom Dundon has made a legal filing against the now-defunct Alliance of American Football seeking the $70 million he invested into the league, as relayed by Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic.

Dundon, the majority owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, joined the AAF in February after making the financial investment into the league. He now claims he was induced into doing so by “misrepresentations.”

The league suspended operations on April 2, before the completion of its first season, and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy weeks later. 

A legal filing made Monday reads: “Even though AAF executives told DCP (Dundon Capital Partners) its contribution would get the AAF through the first season, those executives knew at the time of the execution of the term sheet that the AAF would likely need an additional $50,000,000 (including league revenue) on top of DCP’s investment of up to $70,000,000 to get through the first season. The AAF and its executives never disclosed this information to DCP.”

The AAF was founded by Charlie Ebersol. His company, Legendary Field Exhibitions, is the primary debtor in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, according to Kaplan. The league reportedly claimed assets of $11 million and owns liabilities of $48 million.

The Alliance of American Football filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Wednesday.

“We are deeply disappointed to be taking this action,” the league said in a statement obtained by Action Network’s Darren Rovell. “The AAF was created to be a dynamic, developmental professional football league powered by an unprecedented alliance between players, fans, and the game. The AAF strove to create new opportunities for talented players, coaches, executives, and officials while providing an exciting experience for fans. We are proud of the fact that our teams and players delivered on that goal.”

The AAF suspended operations April 2 due to a lack of funds. The association attempted to turn itself into an NFL affiliate but encountered little cooperation from the NFL or NFL Players Association.

AAF players received permission to begin signing NFL contracts April 4.

The league failed to complete its first season. The inaugural championship game was supposed to be played April 27 in Frisco, Texas, after it was relocated from Las Vegas.

The Orlando Apollos held the best record in the AAF at 7-1 when operations were suspended.

Former Alliance of American Football players Colton Schmidt and Reggie Northrup have filed a class-action lawsuit against the league after it shut down operations in its first season, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein and Kyle Bonagura report.

In a separate motion, James Earnest Roberson Jr., the former director of community relations for the Birmingham Iron, has filed a class-action lawsuit against the AAF and a number of its investors.

Schmidt, who was a punter for the Iron, and Northrup, who played linebacker for the Orlando Apollos, maintain that they would not have joined the league had they known it was not financially stable.

The players allege breach of contract, breach of implied good faith and fair dealings, failure to pay wages, and fraud and false promises by the AAF. They’re suing for damages and requesting that each person who joins the suit, which has generated interest among other players, receive three times the damages endured.

Roberson, meanwhile, alleges the AAF violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which mandates employees receive 60 days’ advance written notice ahead of mass layoffs.

The AAF kicked off the weekend after Super Bowl LIII and suspended operations April 2 with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

The experiement known as the AAF lasted all of eight weeks before the league suspended operations last week. It got a year head start on the XFL, American Patriot League and all of the other pro football leagues that are due to start up in 2020.

But it turns out that the AAF could have formed a merger with one of those other leagues had that league been willing to accept a deal. Sports Business Daily reports that the AAF approached the XFL about a merger in December 2018 that Vince McMahon rejected.

The AAF season didn’t start until February 2019 so it was clear that the league was in dire straits dating back to late last year. Per the report, the AAF “was already running out of money” and “was on life support.”

XFL representatives did not immediately return a request for comment on the report per Fox Business.

That was because the league’s primary investor, former USFL player Reggie Fowler, did not come through with a $28 million payment around Christmas. The league needed Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon to then come aboard as the primary investor and save the league after its first week of games.

Dundon pledged $250 million in funding and also became the league’s chairman. But Dundon wasn’t enough to keep the AAF afloat and they were reportedly losing $10 million per week before pulling the plug.

AAF co-founder Charlie Ebersol, whose dad Dick Ebersol was a partner of the original XFL, has not publicly commented on the demise of the AAF. Right when the AAF season started, Charlie said he had enough funding for a multi-year run but it ended up being just a multi-week run.

The XFL revival is slated to begin play in 2020 and McMahon is self-funding the league by selling hundreds of millions of dollars of his WWE stock.


The Alliance of American Football suspended its operations on Tuesday, according to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala.

The league isn’t folding yet, but it’s “moving in that direction,” sources told ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio.

Majority owner Tom Dundon said last week the AAF could only continue with the cooperation of the NFL and its players’ association.

“If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” Dundon said. “We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.”

Dundon invested $250 million into the league last month and was given the option to pull the funding as he wished. He will lose approximately $70 million of his investment, and his desire to fold the league opposes the wishes of co-founders Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian, sources told Action Network’s Darren Rovell.

League officials were surprised by the decision and are still hoping that outside funding could save the AAF, sources told Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr.

Perception inside the AAF is that Dundon made his initial investment in order to acquire the technology and IP rights of a gambling app the league is developing, a source told SI’s Albert Breer.

The AAF just completed Week 8 of its 10-week season. The championship game was scheduled to take place in April at one of the Dallas Cowboys’ facilities.


A month after investing $250 million into the league, new Alliance of American Football majority owner Tom Dundon says the start-up is in danger of folding.

Dundon told USA Today Sports’ Kevin Allen and Mike Jones that the AAF desperately needs the co-operation of the NFL and its players association to continue.

“If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” Dundon said. “We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.”

One players’ union official said it would violate the terms of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement if active players are lent to the AAF.

Dundon expects to reach a decision in the next two days.

The AAF just wrapped up Week 7 of a 10-week inaugural season. The championship game is scheduled to take place in April at one of the Dallas Cowboys’ facilities.


Johnny Manziel has played in the NFL, CFL, and The Spring League. Now he’s signed an agreement to join the Alliance of American Football, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The AAF team with the lowest win-loss percentage held the first crack at Manziel through the league’s waiver process. As a result, he’s landed with the 1-5 Memphis Express, CBS Sports’ Ben Kercheval confirms. He’ll be immediately eligible to play with his new team.

“We are pleased to welcome Johnny Manziel to Alliance of American Football, which we’ve always described as a league of opportunity for talented players to launch or revitalize their pro football careers,” league co-founder Bill Polian said in a statement.

“We completed extensive background work to determine whether it would be appropriate for Johnny to play this season,” Polian added, “and after consulting with many people familiar with his situation, we concluded that it would be good for him to resume his pro football career here at The Alliance.”

The 2012 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback is the third high-profile passer on the team’s roster, slotting in alongside Zach Mettenberger and Christian Hackenberg. Brandon Silvers replaced Mettenberger after he suffered an injury during Saturday’s loss.

Manziel spent 2018 in Canada, playing five games with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and 11 for the Montreal Alouettes following a midseason trade. He completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,290 yards, with five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

The CFL directed the Alouettes to release Manziel in February due to an agreement breach.

The AAF’s San Antonio Commanders initially held the first dibs on Manziel, but they released his college allocation rights.