ATLANTA — The Alliance of American Football experienced a final moment of public embarrassment on Wednesday, with the startup league filing for bankruptcy.
The AAF, which suspended full league operations a few weeks ago, participated in a Chapter 7 filing in bankruptcy court. That typically involves companies that are in the process of liquidating assets and/or going out of business.
Via Front Office Sports, the AAF's bankruptcy filing included $48 million-plus in liabilities, $11 million-plus in assets and a cash-on-hand tally of more than $536,000.
Within the liquidation process, AAF officials are free to auction off helmets, jerseys and other pieces of official merchandise – items which could have retro-chic value down the road.
Of course, it's hard to possess lasting memories of a sports league that didn't make it through a full campaign.
Even the United States Football League (1983-85) had enough staying power to crown three champions during the 1980s (Michigan Panthers, Philadelphia Stars, Baltimore Stars).
With Wednesday's news, the Atlanta Legends (2-6 overall, eliminated from playoff contention) will never play another game.
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In March, league majority owner and board chairman Tom Dundon dropped hints of abandoning his financial commitment to the AAF by early April, if the Alliance, the NFL and the NFL Players Association couldn't come to terms on a dual-participation program, thus allowing fringe NFL players to play spring football, without violating their current pro contracts.
Dundon's active participation (read: seemingly limitless funds) was paramount for the AAF's survival.
Back in Week 2, the AAF had reportedly run out of money ... only to be rescued by Dundon – owner of the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes – during an 11th-hour emergency meeting.
At the time, Dundon had agreed to infuse up to $250 million of fresh capital into the venture, while assuming majority-owner status of the league.
As such, without Dundon's cash, the AAF didn't possess enough resources to conclude the final two weeks of the regular season ... and then host its four-team playoff on April 21.
With the exceptions of Arizona and Atlanta, the other six AAF markets (San Diego, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando) don't have direct market competition with the NFL.