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Rovell: AAF Suspending Football Operations Immediately, League's Future Now in Doubt



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Just eight weeks after playing its first games, the Alliance of American Football (AAF) will suspend football operations by the end of Tuesday, according to sources .

Tom Dundon effectively bought a majority stake in the middle of February, when the league announced its $ 250 million commitment. It later became clear that Dundon, who owns Carolina Hurricanes, funded the league one week a week, with his approximate total commitment being $ 70 million to this point.

Following the agreement with Dundon, sources said it became clear to the league's founders Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian that Dundon's goals were different from the original plan.

Ebersol and Polian's plan was to develop the league for three years alone before becoming a NFL feeder system. However, Dundon wanted to create the minor league relationship right away and tried to use the lever by folding AAF & # 39; to get an agreement with the NFL Players Association to better ensure a league-to-league flow.

As it stood, the NFL's collective agreement would not allow more of Dundon's issues, including a flexible system between AAF players and NFL training campaigns.

According to sources, AAF had a meeting with representatives from NFLPA on Monday and a potential relationship showed some signs of life, so Tuesday's news came as a surprise to some league competitions.

Before Dundon came together, the league's main investor was Reggie Fowler, when the Action Network first reported on March 27.

Fowler, who was originally to buy the Minnesota Vikings before having financial problems, committed $ 1

70 million to AAF, according to sources. Having been pronounced and proposed to the AAF by NFL leaders themselves, Fowler had only raised $ 28 million at the time of Dundon's entry.

While the Dundon funded the league wage, sources say he did not pay suppliers who worked with AAF, many of whom are still seeking their money. It is debate about which party – whether Dundon or the first ownership group diluted by Dundon's investment – was to feed the supplier bills.

When Dundon went in to detain the league, sources say he took unilateral control over the board, meaning any decision he wanted to make, including the folding of the league, was his doing.

The AAF investment consists of a bunch of companies, including a technical arm in which MGM invested. Part of the league's original strategy was to use mobile games for drum in fan interest. Although Dundon is said to have wanted the technical component of the company and owns the entire business, sources say it would not be legal for him to close the league to remove the assets.

In January 2018, WWE President Vince McMahon announced that he would only bring XFL & # 39; back in name and logo. The new league – billed as a gimmick-free version of what was originally launched in 2001 and lasted for one year – will debut in 2020. Sources told me last year that McMahon was planning to spend close to $ 500 million for the league's first three seasons and that he had sold $ 361 million in WWE stock to fund Alpha Entertainment, the only asset of which is XFL at this time.

Charlie Ebersol announced AAF two months later, but jumped ahead of McMahon's timeline by launching its league after this year's Super Bowl.

AAF's first week was widely used as a game Saturday at CBS on average 3.25 million viewers, trumping ABC's broadcast of the Houston Rockets Oklahoma City Thunder NBA game (2.67 million). AAF had TV deals with CBS Sports, Turner Sports and NFL Network.

While television ratings remained fairly respectable, participation in many markets was deficient and hovered about 10,000 reported fans per day. Game.

The league got a PR boost since last month when former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was released from his Canadian football league and signed with AAF's Memphis Express.

But at that time, Dundon already threatened to fold the league to get the NFL players' attention, despite the fact that AAF has created few stars that NFL wants.

In addition to Memphis, the league had franchises in Atlanta, Birmingham, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and Salt Lake City. High-profile players include former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who led the league in passing yards and former NFL first-acting Trent Richardson, who led the league in touchdowns.

Dundon's decision to suspend operations comes with only two weeks back in regular season and less than four weeks away from what would have been the first AAF Championship Game slated to be broadcast on CBS.

Stay updated on this development story.


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