Ebersol: AAF cash infusion from Dundon was about opportunity not urgency

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At a time when many are wondering why the Alliance of American Football needed $250 million last week, the correct answer to the question could be that it didn’t.
AAF CEO and co-founder Charlie Ebersol explained Tuesday morning that the quarter-billion-dollar investment from Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon (pictured) reflected a decision by Dundon to accelerate the startup league’s ongoing effort to raise funds.
“It was not urgency,” Ebersol told PFT by phone, explaining that the AAF has been structured like a tech startup, with multiples rounds of investments planned. Dundon decided to short-circuit the process.
“‘You can raise Series A, Series B, Series C, or you can raise Series Infinity right now,'” Dundon told Ebersol.
Ebersol opted to accept the offer from Dundon, who had been studying the AAF for the past year, and who decided to make his move after the league’s performance in its debut weekend.
It was the kind of payment that none of other investors were capable of making, and it makes Dundon the largest institutional investor in the league. He’ll instantly become chairman of the Board of Director. Ebersol will continue to run the business side of the AAF, Polian will run the football side of the AAF, and Dundon will remove the fundraising obligation from Ebersol’s plate.
Ebersol nevertheless understands the skepticism, fueled by a report from TheAthletic.com that painted a picture of a league that needed to be saved after only one slate of four regular-season games.
“If you’re looking as an outside observer,” Ebersol said, “any time we’re raising money it looks like urgency.”
With a fresh $250 million, there should be no urgency now. Whether that means Dundon will get a return on his investment is a different issue, as is whether the league will survive for the long haul. Regardless of what the consequences of not getting the money could have been, the reality is that the league should now have the funding to get through at least a couple of seasons, if not longer.

48 responses to “Ebersol: AAF cash infusion from Dundon was about opportunity not urgency

  1. That seals it in my mind. The AAF is close to some sort of development deal with the NFL. The idea that a start up league can make it without some sort of arrangement with the mother ship is ludicrous, and a billionaire professional sports franchise owner would be smart and connected enough to know this.

    Now let’s see if Vince McMahon is smart enough to realize the XFL is dead in the water and stops throwing away good money after bad. I doubt it.

  2. If the AAF is essentially a test lab for instrumented players and balls, developing the ability for per-play betting over mobile platforms, I think it would not necessarily need to be a true stand-alone league. The business side could easily overwhelm the football side if the technology takes off and is embraced by the NFL and the Major gambling houses.

  3. All he had to do was watch the mighty Fleet bombard the cities of these other hapless teams to know it was time to get on the right side of history. Full steam ahead boys!

  4. They need more advertising, plain and simple.

    If they have more games like that Apollos/Commanders game, they should have no problem retaining regular viewers.

  5. Tremendous vote of confidence by Dundon. Glad to see it too. Enjoy being an Apollo fan and looking forward to watching a great season of football

  6. I wish them well but “multiple rounds of fundraising” doesn’t seem to equate to “2 weeks into the season.” If Dundon was just a normal investor not being called in as an emergency savior he logically would have either done so before now or he would have waited a while longer. Immediately after launch is a lousy time to invest because you’ve missed out on being first in plus you can’t yet tell how things are going.

  7. When you miss payroll and cite an error, then get a big cash infusion, chances are the infusion was desperately needed regardless of how the company’s leadership tries to spin it.

  8. this league, the aaf, is garbage. bunch of hack ass players who will NEVER EVER make it into the nfl. bunch of scrubs. fake news fake news.

  9. Centralized ownershship is the problem. Every team should have individual owners and the owners should be able to sign whoever they want without parameters and restrictions. The competition needs to be fierce and relentless.

    That’s just one of the problems. Make me CEO of the league I’ll turn it into a billion dollar entity. Nobody knows football like me.

  10. Working off the reported salaries of the players, I estimate it costs app. $1 million to put on each game, or about $40 – 45 mil/season. Allowing for marketing, product manufacture, (and probably a bit of graft) call it $50 – 60 mil/year. Which means that $250 mil will buy several years. If they get any kind of media, TV, streaming, etc. contract then they’re probably viable as long as they can control those salaries and the owners don’t get greedy.
    We’re not talking about direct competition with the NFL, but I don’t think they absolutely have to have a relationship with the NFL just to survive.

  11. Wow, so many people that say so much while not knowing any facts, just their conjecture, which unfortunately is almost always negative. The AAF football is solid and I look forward to the rest of the season & them adding teams next season.

  12. I wish I had the type of money where I could put $250 million into a league that will be gone in two years. Stunning.

  13. Living in Raleigh, I’ve read a good bit about Dundon. Incredibly smart with his money. If he has made this kind of commitment, the future is bright for the AAF.

  14. All of you doubting this story… Help me understand why any smart man would invest that much if the business plan doesnt forsee shortcomings in the first week of payroll. I believe and buy the story.
    Smart man saw an opening, and launched himself into the big chair of a great chance to really make some money

  15. I’m thinking the guy with $250 million knows what he’s doing. He’s also taking over control. I think the league can survive. They certainly can do a much better job of promoting the players. People want to see good players, and players who have a chance to make NFL rosters. There are plenty of NFL caliber players on these rosters, but I don’t think the TV announcers have any idea who the NFL players are. The announcers are mostly ex-players that are really bad announcers (for this type league). I would much prefer no-name announcers who are capable of enthusiastically promoting the players. These current announcers put you to sleep. They need someone like Mike Mayock who can talk like a scout and tell the audience about the individual players. This isn’t the kind of league where the audience is interested in scheme and technical stuff. They need to highlight the players, and that requires someone with a scouting background. I think this Dundon guy should call Mike Lombardi and get some input from him.

  16. Adam Kachur says:
    February 19, 2019 at 1:23 pm
    this league, the aaf, is garbage. bunch of hack ass players who will NEVER EVER make it into the nfl.
    —————————————–
    Adam, have you looked into the league? A majority of the starters are ex-NFL players, several with multiple years in the league. Some even started at some point!

    You’re running your mouth and all you’re spewing is BS.

  17. “Centralized ownershship is the problem. Every team should have individual owners and the owners should be able to sign whoever they want without parameters and restrictions. The competition needs to be fierce and relentless.”
    ______________

    Just like how the USFL did it? That sure worked out well for them.

  18. Thinking the deal was on the table for a while but Ebersol was looking elsewhere for the money from multiple investors so he wouldn’t have to cede control to Dundon .

  19. “He’ll instantly become chairman of the Board of Director.”

    Hahaha! That isn’t a corporate position! Never has been, never will be…

  20. mogogo1 says:
    February 19, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Just like how the USFL did it? That sure worked out well for them.
    ____________________________________________

    You don’t know much about USFL history. Look into it. The league was viable until a certain someone who destroys everything he touches was let in and convinced the other owners to take on the NFL.

    The USFL was a cool SPRING league.

  21. “You don’t know much about USFL history. Look into it. The league was viable until a certain someone who destroys everything he touches was let in and convinced the other owners to take on the NFL.”
    _________________

    They spent themselves into oblivion–which is exactly what would happen to the AAF if they ditched centralized control which is what the post was all about I was replying to. But the USFL was NEVER a profitable enterprise. They launched spending too much and that just got worse as Trump and other owners stepped it up a notch. But some of their first moves were to sign NFL-caliber players so that was always their plan.

  22. The only thing I don’t like about the AAF is that I chose Salt Lake as my team, based on nothing more than geographic proximity. Which has left me feeling like a Browns fan from 2017. Go Stallions – Factory of Sadness Rocky Mountain Region.

  23. I’m a fan of the league and hope it succeeds. The NFL needs a “minor league” to give players a chance to play somewhere if their shot in the NFL failed. Some just need another chance. Given the state of QBs, this league could really help develop some them not named Hackenberg.

  24. Really? No urgency? $250M needed to make payroll, uncertainty if players would show up without that money coming into their account? Yeah, not urgent at all.

  25. Adam Kachur says:
    February 19, 2019 at 1:23 pm
    this league, the aaf, is garbage. bunch of hack ass players who will NEVER EVER make it into the nfl.

    +++++++++++++

    Tommy Maddox, Steve Gleason, and He Hate Me beg to differ……

  26. I guess he learned how to startup and run a very short lived football league from his dad Dick Ebersol when he partnered with Vince to start the XFL.

  27. The league needs to make sure every team has a home (dark) jersey and a white (road) jersey. When the Iron play the Fleet, somebody needs to wear white for contrast. Otherwise viewers won’t be able to tell the teams apart. Memphis did wear a white jersey at Birmingham, maybe they are working on this.

  28. We are bombarded with too much football as it is. This league’s only true purpose would be as a “minor league” system for the NFL. But we definitely don’t need anymore bad football on TV. The NFL is getting bad enough as it is.

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