Startup Football League Gets $250 Million From NHL Owner

(Bloomberg) -- The Alliance of American Football, the startup professional football league that launched 10 days ago, has received a $250 million investment from entrepreneur Tom Dundon.

The owner of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, Dundon will be chairman of the AAF’s board and its largest institutional stakeholder, the league said in a statement. It didn’t provide additional details on the terms.

Startup Football League Gets $250 Million From NHL Owner

The eight-team league, which just played its second weekend of games, was running low on cash and in danger of missing payroll, according to a report from the Athletic. “Players were never in danger of not getting paid,” a league spokeswoman told Bloomberg News in response to that story.

The AAF was founded by TV producer Charlie Ebersol and longtime National Football League executive Bill Polian. Its investors include MGM Resorts International, and it has broadcast partnerships with CBS, Turner Sports and NFL Network.

The AAF had a strong opening night on CBS -- outdrawing a high-profile National Basketball Association game in the same window -- though ratings dipped on its second day. It is one of a handful of new professional leagues aiming to capitalize on America’s seemingly endless love of football. The reboot of the XFL, owned by Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment, is set to launch in 2020.

Dundon bought a controlling stake in the Hurricanes in 2017 in a deal that valued the team at around $500 million. He’s the owner of Employer Direct Healthcare Inc., the co-founder of Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas and an early investor in eat-and-play chain Topgolf.

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