AAF coach suggests XFL may have smeared league with payroll rumor
Was some negative press about the AAF this week the product of a smear campaign from a rival upstart league? That’s what one coach will have you believe.
Rick Neuheisel, the head coach of the AAF’s Arizona Hotshots, said in comments shared by Arizona Family’s Mark McClune this week that the rumor might have been started by the XFL.
“This is a competitive environment we live in,” Neuheisel said on Tuesday. “There are other people out there that are trying to get a new league a year from now that are trying to try and create some negative publicity. But the good news is there’s an investor who just dropped $250 million. You have to imagine he did his due diligence.”
Was @TheAAF in financial trouble?
Was it a smear campaign by the @xfl2020 ?
— Mark McClune (@MarkMcClune) February 20, 2019
A report on Monday from The Athletic said the AAF needed a $250 million cash infusion from Carolina Hurricanes majority owner Tom Dundon in order to meet payroll obligations. Dundon has been named the league’s new chairman of the board of directors. AAF founder Charlie Ebersol says that Dundon saw how positive the reviews of the league were that he wanted to buy in.
Here’s how Ebersol explained Dundon’s investment.
“We are a start-up, and start-ups usually raise money in pieces — there’s a Series A piece, Series B, Series C, etc. After the success of the first week, we had a number of investors come to us and offer us all kinds of different investments. Tom Dundon showed up and said, ‘Do you want to continue to raise Series B, Series C and Series D or do you want to raise Series Infinity right now and be taken care of from now on.’ That was an offer I was not going to refuse,” Ebersol told the Orlando Sentinel.
It’s tough to say what to make of this. On one hand, it’s hard to imagine the league would have launched knowing they would have this much difficulty making payroll so soon. On the other, it’s possible that ticket revenues came in far below projections, causing some urgency to take on a new investor, which may seems to have been part of the plan all along.
The XFL is set to launch next year in what will be the reincarnation of the league. The AAF just completed its second week of games in its inaugural season.
H/T Barstool Sports