The Suspension Of The AAF And The Future Of Football Developmental Leagues
- The AAF lasted 8 weeks before suspending operations.
- Carolina Hurricanes owner, Tom Dundon, invested $250 million in the league.
- Players and coaches have received their final paycheck.
SAN FRANSISCO – With only two weeks plus playoffs remaining in the inaugural season, the Alliance of American Football has suspended operations, leaving the newly launched football league’s future up in the air.
Players and coaches were told while they were in practice preparing for their next slate of games. Both the administrators’ and players’ contracts have been terminated, without the possibility of severance pay.
The shutdown happened due to the new “league owner”, Tom Dundon, losing an estimated $70 million over the course of the year, with another $20 million projected to be lost in the final rounds.
Dundon went against the wishes of the founders of the league Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian.
“When Mr. Dundon took over it was the belief of my co-founder, Charlie Ebersol, and myself that we would finish the season, pay our creditors, and make the necessary adjustments to move forward in a manner that made economic sense for all,” said Polian.
The Background Of The AAF Suspension
The original idea for the league was to be the middle ground between amateur athletics and the NFL. Designed to be a developmental league, the AAF wanted to use NFL practice roster athletes as their stars to help build up a future in football for them.
If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” said Dundon. “We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.”
The NFLPA claimed doing this would violate the collective bargaining agreement, which doesn’t expire until the end of the next NFL season.
The main focus was the health insurance and injury policies. Some teams, such as the Orlando Apollos, were required to travel into Georgia to practice so they would be able to collect worker’s compensation should an injury occur.
However, that was just the tip of the iceberg. The league wasn’t making money and everyone involved started to take notice.
Insurance policies were modified, payroll companies were switched back and forth, and even travel budgets were limiting which players and administrators would be able to attend the next game.
The AAF Moving Forward
There is still the possibility of the league continuing, no matter how unlikely it currently appears. While the league must pay off creditors and determine a new strategy for success, Polian is not scared of a challenge.
Other ideas include the XFL acquiring some of the assets in their expected 2020 relaunch, according to a tweet by Darren Rovell.
MGM became the official sports betting partner of the league and they also hold an investment in a live, in-play sports betting platform. It is a near guarantee that the NFL will attempt to acquire this technology.
LegalSportsBettingSites.com knows while the players, coaches, and the league itself are out a job, the focus also turned to sports bettors who took action on the AAF. According to Jeff Sherman of West Gate Las Vegas, all futures bets will be refunded.