The Alliance of American Football has had a positive first two weeks, including locally with the Birmingham Iron moving to 2-0 on the season with a 12-9 win over the Salt Lake Stallions. The league hit good ratings in week one on CBS and had since transitioned to smaller networks while the public seemed to enjoy the overall football and TV product.
However, the league hit it’s first major issue as reports surfaced today about the league running short on cash and that it could have missed payroll if not for a new investor into the league. Darren Rovell tweeted that the league actually did miss payroll in week one but that it was a “glitch”.
The AAF missed payroll in Week 1. They told agents that it was a glitch with switching to a new administrator. They told players would be paid by today the latest.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 19, 2019
The Athletic reported today that Carolina Hurricanes majority owner Tom Dundon became an investor in the AAF and will be introduced as the league’s new chairman after committing $250 million to the league so they can meet their financial obligations. Dundon will continue in his role as owner of the NHL franchise in Raleigh.
In a statement announcing the investment, Charlie Ebersol said, ““Since the beginning, it has been crucial that the foundation of The Alliance be set with world-class partners and Tom Dundon represents just that. Tom, Bill Polian and I will work with our great team at the Alliance to expand our football operations and technology business. Tom is a self-made American success story who brings a wealth of knowledge in the sports, entertainment and finance worlds and proven leadership to our organization.”
“As a lifelong sports fan and entrepreneur, I’ve always valued the opportunities generated in the ecosystem of sports and entertainment,” said Dundon. “I’m impressed with The Alliance’s stunning growth in-stadium and across TV, mobile and social media in just these first few weeks.”
He added, “The Alliance has built a foundation of high-quality football, revolutionary technology, and world-class partnerships with the NFL, CBS, Turner Sports and MGM Resorts International and I’m excited to work with Charlie, Bill and the league’s partners to help accelerate the growth of The Alliance in its next phase as a company.”
Dundon just took over the Hurricanes in January 2018, purchasing a majority stake from longtime owner Peter Karmanos Jr.
According to The Athletic, sources are saying there has been talk about a potential expansion or relocation to Raleigh now with this investment, but that it wouldn’t occur until 2020 at the earliest.
A spokesman for the San Antonio Commanders said that he believed everyone employed by the Commanders had been paid.