Sources: Despite Investing $70 Million, New AAF Owner Is Threatening to End League

Mar 27, 2019 03:12 PM EDT
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  • Tom Dundon bought a large share of the Alliance of American Football last month, sinking $70 million into the startup football league so far, according to sources.
  • But immediately after gaining control of the league, he pivoted the business plan and accelerated attempts to become a formalized feeder league to the NFL.

The new owner of the AAF strangely threatened to fold the league on Wednesday just 36 days after he committed up to $250 million.

Tom Dundon told USA Today on Wednesday that the league was in jeopardy of folding without help from the NFL Players Union. Dundon said that in order to continue the league, he had to ensure there’d be better flow between the AAF and the NFL practice squads, much of which the current NFL collective bargaining agreement doesn’t allow.

One issue: If NFL teams loan players to the AAF, what happens if that player is injured and how is that rectified.

Sources tell The Action Network that Dundon, going into his sixth week of ownership, has sunk $70 million into the AAF.

The league went to Dundon because he offered to essentially insure that the AAF didn’t have to raise more money from multiple partners in the near future.

The league’s main football investor, whose name has not appeared in the press to this point, is Reggie Fowler.

Fowler, who was initially going to buy the Minnesota Vikings before having financial issues, committed $170 million to the AAF, according to sources. After being vetted and suggested to the AAF by NFL executives themselves, Fowler had only put up $28 million by the time Dundon swooped in.

Last month, league co-founder Charlie Ebersol negotiated with Dundon to make the deal, which allowed plenty of breathing room for the AAF. But sources say that as soon as Dundon had control, he changed the business plan.

The current AAF management had the goal of building up its own brand before potentially becoming a feeder system to the NFL by Year 3, but Dundon pivoted and immediately began pushing for the AAF to become a minor league.

The issue with Dundon’s threat is that some believe the league hasn’t yet developed enough talent for NFL teams to believe the AAF has created financial value, so blowing the league up isn’t creating much leverage.

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