The Alliance of American Football’s failure to finish its first season constitutes a failure. The fact that it made it through eight weeks of the schedule amounts to a rousing success, given what nearly happened.
It’s been well-documented that, but for the investment of Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon, the AAF would have died after only one week. As it turns out, the league almost didn’t make it to Week One.
Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Daily reports that, in December 2018, the AAF approached the XFL about a possible merger. Per the report, the AAF “was already running out of money, and “was on life support.”
XFL owner Vince McMahon rejected the offer.
Kaplan also reports that the AAF’s initial primary investor, Reggie Fowler, failed to come through with a $28 million payment by Christmas. It was Fowler’s eventual exit that created a dire situation after the first weekend of games, resulting in a Hail Mary that somehow connected when Dundon signed on.
But with $10 million per week in losses and no reason to think that the AAF would be operating in the black anytime soon, Dundon decided to stop throwing good money after bad. With no one else ready or willing to take Dundon’s place, the AAF necessarily became finito.