Apr 18, 2019 - Sports

AAF files for bankruptcy, co-founder breaks silence

Illustration of AAF logo breaking into pieces

Photo: Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Alliance of American Football, which suspended operations earlier this month, filed a petition for bankruptcy yesterday.

Why it matters: Based on the filing, the league had roughly $11.4 million in assets and $48.4 million in liabilities. Those liabilities include roughly $9.6 million in money owed to creditors.

  • In other words, it's going to take months for players, coaches, staff and other creditors to be paid what they're owed — and many of them will likely never get that money.

What they're saying: League co-founder Charlie Ebersol who, according to the filing, paid himself over $300,000 since May 15, 2018 (way too much!), broke his silence late last night in an interview with Sports Business Journal's John Ourand.

"I know everyone has conspiracy theories. But, unfortunately, this may have just died because the main investor and the founders had different visions of what the company was supposed to be. …. Our long-term vision for building something slowly and getting enterprise value was not aligned with [Tom Dundon's] vision of how he saw the league."
— AAF co-founder Charlie Ebersol

The bottom line: This story is far from over and will continue to evolve as more information comes out, but one thing is already abundantly clear: The AAF launched too soon. They rushed it.

  • The irony in that, as my colleague Dan Primack astutely pointed out to me, is that the primary takeaway from the "30 for 30" documentary about the XFL — which Ebersol, himself, directed — is that the XFL launched too soon.
  • It's incredible that he appears to have made the same mistake, especially when Vince McMahon learned his lesson and is taking things much slower with the XFL relaunch.
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