Tom Dundon, the owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, made a surprising decision to invest $250 million into the fledgling Alliance of American Football this week, and he said this morning on PFT Live that it was a decision he made because he enjoyed watching the first week of games.
“I found the competition compelling the way it looked on TV, the story of people having a second chance or developing,” Dundon said.
Dundon said he had been approached about investing during the planning stages of the AAF, but until he actually saw the game on the field he wasn’t interested.
“Once you have the ratings, see the football, see the reaction, all the people who watched and it looked real good, all of a sudden it seemed less risky,” Dundon said. “The idea of what the league is trying to do could create value to people, and people like watching it.”
Dundon said he’s not spending $250 million right away, but he is putting up that much money to ensure that the league isn’t worried about going out of business.
“The league has many years of cash if things don’t go according to plan,” Dundon said. “The way we set it up, I think, is well in excess of what I think we’ll need for the league to be sustainable or profitable without me having to prop it up.”
Dundon said he told Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian, the AAF’s founders, that they jumped into starting the league too quickly, but he’s still impressed with what they’ve accomplished so far.
“You shouldn’t have done it so fast, you shouldn’t have done it with the capital structure, but it’s pretty amazing what you accomplished,” Dundon said.
Although he referred to the AAF as “a developmental league” for the NFL, he said he has not even thought about the possibility of selling the entire league to the NFL and making it an official minor league some day.
“I don’t build things to sell them, so that wouldn’t be something I’d even think about. I can’t predict the future, but it’s not even a conversation that I’ve had,” Dundon said.
The conversations Dundon has had are just about thinking the quality of the football so far has been pretty good, and with his infusion of cash, there’s no concern about that football going away.