The Alliance of American Football is only a few weeks away from the start of the playoffs, but league chairman Tom Dundon surprised fans on Wednesday that the AAF could be days away from folding as Week 8 approaches. The news came just a day after league co-founder Charlie Ebersol revealed that the organization was having “high-level” discussions over possible expansion next year.
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The league has reportedly suspended operations.
What’s going on with the AAF, and how did we get to this point? Here’s a quick timeline of events.
According to the league, the opening weekend of games was watched by more than 6 million people.
“The Alliance debuted as the highest rated sports program in primetime on February 9, 2019 on CBS, with additional broadcast partnerships across NFL Network and Turner Sports adding millions more. Over 6 million people watched The Alliance in its inaugural weekend.”
The Athletic reported on February 18th that the new league almost ran out of cash to meet payroll prior to its second week of games, though co-founder Charlie Ebersol disputed the claim and said that the AAF was not in jeopardy financially.
The league announced the following day that Carolina Hurricanes majority owner Tom Dundon “committed” $250 million to the AAF, and became the league’s “control owner” and chairman.
The inaugural AAF championship game was set to be held on April 27th at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, but the league moved the game to the Ford Center at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility in Frisco, Texas.
Bitstarz promo code free 2019. In a surprise twist, iconic rapper Eminem was linked to a potential Detroit expansion franchise after tweeting that he believes AAF players should be allowed to fight in games.
AAF co-founder Charlie Ebersol told the Detroit Free Press that the tweet sparked “high level talks” about possibly bringing a team to Detroit.
Via the Detroit Free Press:
“Ebersol said he had ‘really, really high-level initial conversations’ with ‘a couple of different people’ who reached out after Eminem’s tweet, “including some people from his team…. We are having conversations about whether or not we are going to expand next year, and it’s really Tom Dundon’s decision.”
Just one day after the Free Press story about potential 2020 expansion was published, Dundon revealed that the league may fold by the end of the week over a dispute with the NFLPA.
When the AAF launched, its broadcasted vision was to be a feeder league for the NFL, with the hope that some of its overlooked players would have a second chance to build a name for themselves and earn an opportunity in the NFL. Dundon, however, believes that for the AAF to succeed, the flow of players must be reversed, and that the NFLPA should allow or allocate young players under contract with NFL teams to AAF teams.
Via USA TODAY Sports:
“If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league. We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.”
Dundon told USA TODAY that he plans to make a decision regarding the future of the league in the coming days. The 10-week AAF regular season is currently schedule to conclude on April 14th, with the playoffs beginning on April 21st.
Multiple outlets reported Tuesday that the league has suspended operations. According to reports, Dundon was unable to broker a deal with the NFLPA over player sharing – but the owner may not have been fully invested in the football side of the business after all.