UPDATE: AAF responds to reports of financial bailout amid missed payroll for players

Ebersol says $250M investment not bailout, SA leads AAF in attendance

By RJ Marquez - Digital Content Curator, The Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO - The Alliance of American Football announced on Tuesday that Tom Dundon, the owner for the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes, is investing $250 million in the league.

The news comes on the same day reports surfaced that the league missed payroll on Friday and the players were not paid.

A source tells KSAT the players were paid what they were owed on Tuesday. Players were told the league switched payroll companies and that caused the delay.

According to the AAF,  Dundon also will serve as chairman of the fledgling eight-team league that began play on Feb. 9.

His involvement came together in a matter of days last week, according to Dundon and Alliance co-founder Charlie Ebersol, though Dundon had been monitoring the AAF's development and debut.

Ebersol dismissed any notion that the Alliance was getting a financial bailout from Dundon.

"This has been an extraordinary undertaking for us," said Ebersol, who less than a year ago partnered with Pro Football Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian to create the Alliance. "It's a giant challenge and opportunity, and as a startup you are constantly looking for some peace of mind. When we got out of the first week of games, we saw there was so much interest from investors, and if we had one person who could take care of us for a very long time, that would be great."

Dundon said the AAF won't be seeking more investors at this time.

"We won't bring in anybody for capital. We're not going to take people's money," he said. "We have to decide who are the partners we want to be in business with. The Alliance already has great relationships with partners such as MGM (Resorts). There won't be any money-raising. It will be growing the business.

"It's so early into this. We're all in the entertainment business, so we're just making sure to continue to do what they have done, which is put out a quality product people want to watch and consume, and hopefully we have the capital in place to take advantage of new opportunities. Things are a lot easier when you have got the capital and connections to execute."

The Alliance has teams in Atlanta; Phoenix; San Diego; San Antonio; Memphis, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Orlando, Florida; and Salt Lake City.

It will play a 10-week schedule before its playoffs, finishing on the final weekend of April. 

The San Antonio Commanders have had the largest crowds compared to other AAF teams.

In two home games at the Alamodome, the Commanders have drawn an average of 28,516 fans per game.

The average for the the other three home games across the league for Week 2 was 16,439.

Off the field, the early response on TV — it has deals with CBS, Turner and NFL Network — and digitally was positive, Ebersol said.

He also said adding Dundon gives the league extra credibility.

"We think there will be other opportunities," Ebersol said, "but the fact we took one of the biggest worries of any startup off the table with a partner who has proven he knows how to build businesses — and not build to sell but build to build — is huge."

The Commanders are on the road the next four games and do not return until March 23.

Copyright 2019 by KSAT. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.