Friday, April 19, 2024

AAF suspends operations

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Alliance of American Football has suspended operations, according to Pro Football Talk. Former chairman Tom Dundon — who is also the owner of the Carolina Hurricanes — is no longer funding the operation.

According to ESPN’s Outside the Lines, the league will have a 5 pm conference call with the players and staff, where the league will announce it is folding.

Alliance of American Football Logo
Alliance of American Football Logo (Photo by Alliance of American Football)

Dundon took over as chairman of the league after Week 1. The league called it a “payroll” problem that caused them to miss payment to the players and staff following Week 1.

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The billionaire owner made a $250 million investment into the league following the first week of their season. But, after losing money each week, he has decided to pull the plug on the league.

He thought that the NFLPA could help. However, the NFL has no interest in helping the league, which caused it to fold.

The AAF rushed to get their league started. Instead of waiting like Vince McMahon’s XFL franchise in 2020, the AAF wanted to play less than a year after announcing their start in March 2018.

The Alliance, as they were known, has had many problems, like they did not have the proper insurance for the Orlando Apollos. The team had to practice in nearby Georgia for workers comp, before playing either on the road, or in Orlando, Florida at Spectrum Stadium.

The Apollos had to operate in Kingsland, Georgia, as Florida did not consider professional athletes to be eligible for their worker’s comp. 

The league was started by Charlie Ebersol and former NFL executive Bill Polian. The lone season began six days after Super Bowl LIII between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots. 

The AAF had eight teams. Only two teams were located in NFL markets, as the Atlanta Legends and Arizona Hotshots played in the same markets as the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals. 

The remaining six teams were Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, Orlando Apollos, Salt Lake Stallions, San Antonio Commanders, and the San Diego Fleet. 

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The league also was hit with a lawsuit in Feb. 2019 from a venture capitalist in Los Angeles, California. The AAF denied Robert Vanech’s claim that the league wash is idea. 

Vanecha claimed he had a handshake agreement with Ebersol. In his lawsuit, he is seeking financial damages, including 50% ownership of the league. 

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Anthony Caruso III
Anthony Caruso III
Anthony Caruso III is the Publisher of The Capital Sports Report. He has been in the Journalism field since August 2002. Since that time, Mr. Caruso has covered many marquee events. This includes 13 Heisman Trophy ceremonies, 2 Little World Series events, and one Army-Navy College Football game.
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