Alliance of American Football announces new investor after report of financial trouble
Tom Dundon, owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, is investing $250 million in the Alliance of American Football and is the new chairman of the league’s board of directors, the AAF announced Tuesday.
The announcement follows a report from The Athletic on Monday night saying the league was in danger of missing payroll entering Week 2.
“Without a new, nine-figure investor, nobody is sure what would have happened,” a source told The Athletic. “You can always tell people their checks are going to be a little late, but how many are going to show up on the weekend for games when they don’t see anything hit their bank accounts on Friday?”
Alliance CEO and co-founder Charlie Ebersol on Tuesday dismissed reports that the Alliance was short on funding, according to the Associated Press.
“This has been an extraordinary undertaking for us,” Ebersol told the AP. “It’s a giant challenge and opportunity, and as a startup you are constantly looking for some peace of mind. When we got out of the first week of games, we saw there was so much interest from investors, and if we had one person who could take care of us for a very long time, that would be great.”
The day before the AAF’s inaugural season opener, Ebersol cited fundraising as the biggest challenge in the league’s startup process.
“Fundraising is no small thing. At any given time, the amount of money that you have to continually raise to do something like this is staggering,” Ebersol said. “And the variety of investors that we’ve brought together, it’s not just the traditional sports investors, it’s data investors. It’s venture capitalists. It’s high net worth individuals. It’s former athletes. All of that goes to build something that is really challenging.”
In addition to owning the Hurricanes, Dundon is the co-founder of Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas, the majority owner of Employer Direct Healthcare and a primary investor in Topgolf.
“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,” Ebersol said in a release. “Tom, (AAF co-founder) 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.”
Alliance players are signed to three-year, $250,0000 contracts.
The San Antonio Commanders brought in the league’s two highest attendance totals through the first two weeks, hosting 27,857 fans in Week 1 and 29,176 on Sunday in Week 2.