Tom Dundon: Once I saw the AAF, I wanted to invest

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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.

32 responses to “Tom Dundon: Once I saw the AAF, I wanted to invest

  1. Selling to the NFL or even a stake to them or some other large entity has to be a long range goal. How else is he gonna get a return on investment.

  2. I tried to watch a little bit of Sunday night’s game but found it confusing. Just a tip for the AAF, if the two teams playing don’t wear the same color jerseys it’s easier to follow the game.

  3. It’s okay football but not enough to keep me watching week after week and I watched all three years of the USFL, just a different time then, mostly waiting for the draft and baseball to start

  4. Just need to get 32 teams, one for each NFL team in a city close by and they will strike gold. The Packers could have a team in Milwaukee, the Colts in Louisville etc. A true minor league for the NFL and keep games in the spring when nothing else is worth watching.

  5. Yeah, his history of bad financial decisions has resulted in him being worth only $1.5 billion and owning an NHL franchise. If only I could have made such foolish decisions… SMH

    collectordude says:
    February 20, 2019 at 8:29 am
    A fool and his money…

  6. He obviously has not followed the history of football a long time…. the first week is always the best…its like opening day for anything new…How many leagues has there been in the last 50 years try this that have lost millions……oh well wish I has 250 to piss away cuz it looked good the first day

  7. This and the pro wrestling huckster’s “league” to follow are just mechanisms for gambling. There was no outcry or demand for minor league football featuring washed up players during the NFL offseason.

  8. Another new sports owner who has a ton of money that needs tax write offs. See Stan Kroenke, Robert Kraft, the Glazers all who have their hands in many other sport ventures. Yet, should we be impressed or disgusted?

  9. 2 weeks and some people are bad mouthing it….give it some time..geez. I’ve seen some great hits…some great runs…and some great interceptions. It’s good football and will get better. The only thing I find weird is no Kick offs.

  10. The usual complainers are going to keep doing what they do best but this league feels like it has the juice to persist. I never thought I’d say this, but now I kinda wish the XFL would go away or merge with AAF as the competition for players may really hurt the on-field product next year. I could see the downfall of both leagues being that they could co-exist.

    Anyways if you’re just being a Negative Nancy, give it a watch next weekend. You don’t HAVE to immediately assume something sucks.

  11. It is his money and I don’t think any of us are qualified to give investment advice to a billionaire.

    He knows more about money and what makes a wise investment more than the rest of us.

    I’m glad someone saw potential. If I’m Vince McMahon then I am starting to get cold feet about the new XFL because the AAF is here to stay for at least a few seasons and seems to have some sort of potential relationship with the NFL brewing.

  12. burn 65 says:…when nothing else is worth watching…sorry, strongly disagree. NHL hockey where they allow star players to be hit…nothing like Stanley Cup playoff hockey, not even the SB…

  13. Smart guy. Waits until there is a product to invest in. Plus, there is an opportunity. The USFL had it right when they were spring only, but the salaries got out of whack. With that knowledge, and seeing how the CBA was the bones of the G_League show that with the right cooperation, this could be a minor league using a similar format. Meaning that teams will share affiliates. 32 is too much, but if you can do 16 teams, with 1/3 of the roster rom one team, 1/3 from a second team, and the the rest free agents, this can work.

  14. bum65 says:
    February 20, 2019 at 9:21 am
    Just need to get 32 teams, one for each NFL team in a city close by and they will strike gold. The Packers could have a team in Milwaukee, the Colts in Louisville etc. A true minor league for the NFL and keep games in the spring when nothing else is worth watching.

    ————————

    The NFL doesn’t want to put that kind of money on an endeavor that would produce very little for them in return. The Union isn’t going to allow for their members to play two seasons worth of games and you simply don’t get enough talent out of a development league to put money into it. Football isn’t baseball where a guy can enter the minors for 4 to 5 years and still have 10 years of their prime left. Stop trying to make it something its not.

  15. As great as the first week was, I believe the second week was even better conpetition.
    Singeltary is the weak link

  16. He really does seem terrible, which has surprised me. I thought he might be able to get his coaching career back on track here, but it sure looks like it’s going to be the end of the road for him. At least as a HC.

    Eastcoast321 says:
    As great as the first week was, I believe the second week was even better conpetition.
    Singeltary is the weak link

  17. I hope the XFL goes away and merge with the AAF to grow the league and have more teams and make it a true minor league for the NFL. It would be a post age 21 league. For a long time many undrafted players after college needed to earn a paycheck (think Kurt Warner) and could be out of game shape and lose that last opportunity. This provides them a paycheck and keep them in game shape and hone their skills and hopefully they get one more chance at the big league. I think it’s a sound idea. And the schedule is sandwiched between Super Bowl and NFL Draft so it’s brilliant. I hope it does well and prosper.

  18. I’m assuming the reason AAF couldn’t pay their employees after 1 week is because they have 200 full time staff replying to message boards claiming they watch this crap and that the product is legit.

    To remind all the shills for this, they announced 1 month after the XFL, and had their first game less than a year from inception. This whole thing was ill conceived and a blatant front to submarine the XFL as legitimate competition to the NFL. I don’t know what this new owner with a $250M investment is up to, I assume something underhanded, but just don’t have the knowledge. The Ratings were 0 in week 2. I have to assume that since this is a front for the NFL, they promised him some type of slick deal to continue to pretend that this is a legit product long enough until they formally transfer ownership back to the NFL for real.

  19. mystic headlock says:
    February 20, 2019 at 9:39 am
    I never thought I’d say this, but now I kinda wish the XFL would go away or merge with AAF as the competition for players may really hurt the on-field product next year. I could see the downfall of both leagues being that they could co-exist.
    ———-
    True, but I’m hoping it turns out for the better and the competition helps. Maybe one of them sticks better after 1-2 seasons, start paying players more, and all the good players go to that league, and in a way it kind of merges there. Either way I’m rooting for either one, having more quality football around is a good thing.

  20. Now that an investor has stepped up, maybe he can start by making sure each team has a dark (home) and a white (road) jersey. Maybe even a third jersey for a new look once in a while. When the Fleet play the Iron, the road team needs to be in a white jersey. Otherwise viewers will have trouble distinguishing the teams. There needs to be more contrast between teams.

    The Express did wear white jerseys at Birmingham, so maybe the issue is being addressed.

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