$250 Million Pours Into The AAF After League Fails To Make Salary Payments
The Alliance of American Football (AAF) today received a commitment of an enormous cash contribution that it desperately needed to survive. Per a release from the league, Carolina Hurricanes principal owner Tom Dundon has invested $250 million into the AAF and will become chairman of the league’s baord of directors, effective immediately.
Dundon is a very successful entrepreneur that should save the AAF from what could have been an early demise, but was shoved under the rug until today. Apparently, the AAF failed to make payroll for the first week of its existence.
“The AAF missed payroll in Week 1. They told agents that it was a glitch with switching to a new administrator. They told players would be paid by today the latest,” tweeted sports business reporter Darren Rovell. He later added that players had been paid as promised on February 19, with the league blaming a delay in payment on a “glitch.”
But for a failure to make payments, the AAF got off to a very strong start during its first week of play. Its debut on CBS drew 2.9 million viewers, which beat out ABC’s 2.5 million viewers of the Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder that competed at the same time slot. Unfortunately, viewership has not been disclosed for its second week of games and the discussion about the league had begun to dissipate until it was announced that Dundon was making a sizable investment in the AAF.
It is not just the size of the investment, but also Dundon’s background, which adds validity to a league that could have otherwise been burdened by the bad press of failing to adhere to salary commitments right at its start. Dundon has successfully served as a primary investor in Topgolf, he is the co-founder of Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas (home of the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson) and he is the majority owner of Employer Direct Healthcare.
The AAF’s release only indicates an investment by Dundon, but there is speculation that others may have also joined in the round, including fellow professional sports franchise owners. One speculative tweet comes from JohnWallStreet, who said that he has heard that former San Diego Padres owner Jeff Moorad is also part of Dundon’s investment group.
Now, the AAF should be able to continue its operations for some time without fear of running out of resources. It is intended to serve as a Spring football league that is a compliment to the National Football League, as opposed to serving as a competitor. While currently NFL players will not participate, many hopefuls will suit up and play on Saturdays and Sundays with the intention of showing off enough skill to get another chance, or a first opportunity, in the NFL.