LAWeaver

Death of the Alliance of American Football

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2 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

 

The upside of launching right now is greatly outweighed by the downside of not launching right.  And the upside of having a spotlight on you is weighed equally with the downside of being exposed by it.

 

Personally I'd like to see them both succeed.  I don't think either can to be honest.  But I'm really enjoying watching how this all is unfolding.

 

AAF is making the typical mistakes every pro football league dating back a half century (including the original XFL) have made before them.  They're also crowing a lot more than they should be about how well capitalized they are - like they're trying to convince themselves of it; that they're a more stable enterprise than is probably the case in reality.  Like they're answering a question no one's really asking.

 

XFL 2: Electric Boogaloo, meanwhile, is doing something remarkable as I see it.  This time around (so far, anyway) their doing things exactly as I would:  as quietly as humanly possible, keeping everything under wraps unless, and until, they want information out to the public.  And when they do hit the ground, I suspect they're going to hit it not running, but flying, thanks to a personal commitment of up to $500 million from Vince McMahon.

 

There are a lot of ways things could turn out, and all of them are fascinating...

-- AAF could completely flop and be a one-season wonder in 2019, dying before the XFL plays a game.

-- AAF survives long enough for XFL to whack it out after a year or two.

-- They go head to head starting in 2020 and wind up merging at some point down the road.

 

The one I don't see is AAF surviving and taking out the XFL.

 

It's hard to argue the upside and downside when launching first was likely the AAF's ONLY strategy. You don't have the luxury of weighing pros and cons if the key to success is beating the other guy to market.

 

Also, it's way too easy to infer conclusions based on what we don't know. It's possible the AAF is crowing about its financial backing because it actually has it. And the XFL's silence might not be calculated; it's possible McMahon & Co. are just getting beat at every turn. 

 

I guess I'm a little more reluctant to view any AAF missteps as a sign of portending doom, especially when compared to the progress of the XFL, of which we know very little. 

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15 minutes ago, gosioux76 said:

It's hard to argue the upside and downside when launching first was likely the AAF's ONLY strategy. You don't have the luxury of weighing pros and cons if the key to success is beating the other guy to market.

 

Also, it's way too easy to infer conclusions based on what we don't know. It's possible the AAF is crowing about its financial backing because it actually has it. And the XFL's silence might not be calculated; it's possible McMahon & Co. are just getting beat at every turn. 

 

I guess I'm a little more reluctant to view any AAF missteps as a sign of portending doom, especially when compared to the progress of the XFL, of which we know very little. 

 

It all depends on your experience base and point of view I suppose. 

 

Having studied professional sports league launches for decades at virtually all levels since the mid-1980's, my conclusions are drawn from the AAF's checking off literally every box in the "Underprepared, Undercapitalized League Launch" checklist so far.  And my conclusions on the XFL are drawn from the original league doing that themselves in 2000-01.  In the process the key people behind the new league are (rightly, IMO) taking the opposite approach.  There's also Vince McMahon's reported willingness to lose up to $500 million and still keep things afloat.  That'd be equivalent to dropping $12.5 million a year, per team, for five straight years before you've burned through it.  Normally I'd hear a commitment like that and think nothing of it, but I've always surmised the new XFL has been more about Vince McMahon's redemption than it has anything else, and that he's prepared to dig as deep as he can to make it succeed this time around - presuming it can.

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2 hours ago, gosioux76 said:

Also, it's way too easy to infer conclusions based on what we don't know. It's possible the AAF is crowing about its financial backing because it actually has it. And the XFL's silence might not be calculated; it's possible McMahon & Co. are just getting beat at every turn. 

 

I guess I'm a little more reluctant to view any AAF missteps as a sign of portending doom, especially when compared to the progress of the XFL, of which we know very little. 

 

As a follow-up to my previous comments, let me give you a situation which gives me the impression I have of AAF vs. XFL.

 

About six years ago, the FM radio dial in Raleigh was about to open up really wide by adding six brand new frequencies that had previously not been available.  This story is about four organizations (we'll call them A, B, C and D, respectively).  "A" was an organization I controlled directly.  "B" was a group I'd had a stake in for years.  "C" was a group I briefly joined during this story but then parted with on good terms, and "D" was a group that I had no affiliation with whatsoever.

 

"C" was a group of young, idealistic people that had organized themselves two years prior specifically with securing one of these frequencies in mind.  They made a huge splash in local media circles in doing so, in the process generating a lot of publicity and not an inconsiderable amount of investment in the process.  So confident in what they were doing that they used that capital to lease downtown office and studio space, buy some heavy-duty broadcast equipment, and hire broadcast lawyers and engineers to shepherd them through the FCC process.  They even launched an internet-only version of the station in an effort to test all this equipment and keep their spirits buoyed.  I joined "C" about a month before they launched, and wholeheartedly (but not financially) supported their efforts.

 

Upon learning of "C's" efforts, I decided to pursue a station of my own through "A," and persuaded the Board of Directors of "B" to pursue one as well, agreeing to coordinate our efforts.  Just days later, "D" approached me, having learned of what "A" and "B" were planning, and wanted to be part of the overall coordination, to maximize our likelihood of garnering FCC approval.  Advising "C's" leaders of my plans, I explained that they could join the coordination that we were about to undertake.  They elected not to participate, but we agreed that we'd nonetheless conspire to the extent that we'd ensure that we wouldn't apply for the same frequencies - as any conflict between applicants was resolved in a complex process that could ultimately leave one, or all, parties left out in the cold.

 

A week before the date on which the FCC began accepting applications, the boards of "A" "B" and "D" met in one large session and reached a collaborative decision:  "A" would seek the slot at 101.9 on the FM dial, "B" would seek 95.7, and "D" would seek 103.3.  These positions were based on my completely inexperienced, online-based engineering searches and an assessment of what frequencies would have the lowest probability of competing applicants.  "C," meanwhile, got a 3/4 page-length newspaper article printed to announce that they "would soon be on the air" at 106.5 FM.  They even programmed their security system's passcode to "1065."  On the day the filing "window" opened, they threw a large party in downtown Raleigh to celebrate what was... for "A," "B," and "D" a far more solemn affair - going to a computer, filling out an online application form, and clicking a few "SEND" buttons.

 

Total amount of money spent to date by "C"?  Probably about 50-60% of their total initial capital raise.

Total amount of publicity bringing light to "C" and its efforts?  TONS.

 

Total spent by groups "A," B" and "D" combined?  Zero.

Total amount of publicity about what any of us were doing?  NONE.

 

Two completely different approaches.  We all anticipated the consideration and approval process to take roughly 18 months.

 

Five months almost to the day, my group "A" was granted approval of its construction permit at 101.9.  The week after, group "B" landed 95.7.  The day after that, group "D" would secure 103.3.  Group "C," whom we had projected would be best to apply at another frequency, sought 106.5... as did five other groups.  This triggered a multi-round series of maneuvers in which Group C spent pretty much the rest of its capital, the end result of which was... watching another group be awarded the frequency one year to the day that my group "A" was awarded a construction permit.  Three years later, the group that was awarded 106.5 failed to build the station it had proposed - but per FCC rules, Group "C" was ineligible to obtain it, as the "window" had closed.  Oh... and had Group "C" applied for the frequency I'd identified as their best shot?  They'd have made it around the same time the others did.

 

Moral of the story?

Plan, plan, then plan some more in as quiet an environment as you can muster.  Announce nothing until whatever you're doing is a done deal.  And for God's sake, don't make yourself susceptible to fraud claims by stating "we're going to" when saying "we're hoping to" or "we're planning to" give you plausibility if your plans fall through.

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On 10/20/2018 at 9:37 PM, dfwabel said:

San Diego State has 50 years of equity yet cannot draw 30K.

 

But y'all think that some off-Broadway squad can draw 30K/game?

 

SDSU has been averaging over 30k for several years. 

 

But it not sure where anyone said any of these AAF team should would do the same? ?

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16 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

 

It all depends on your experience base and point of view I suppose. 

 

Having studied professional sports league launches for decades at virtually all levels since the mid-1980's, my conclusions are drawn from the AAF's checking off literally every box in the "Underprepared, Undercapitalized League Launch" checklist so far.  And my conclusions on the XFL are drawn from the original league doing that themselves in 2000-01.  In the process the key people behind the new league are (rightly, IMO) taking the opposite approach.  There's also Vince McMahon's reported willingness to lose up to $500 million and still keep things afloat.  That'd be equivalent to dropping $12.5 million a year, per team, for five straight years before you've burned through it.  Normally I'd hear a commitment like that and think nothing of it, but I've always surmised the new XFL has been more about Vince McMahon's redemption than it has anything else, and that he's prepared to dig as deep as he can to make it succeed this time around - presuming it can.

Is McMahon really willing to lose that much or is it bluster? Remember this is Vince McMahon we're talking about. Also isn't most of the money for the XFL 2.0 coming from the WWE's deal with the Saudi's? Sure he's "personally" financing it but he's making back what he cashed in with the deal the WWE has with the Saudi's. The WWE is taking a ton of heat over their upcoming show in Saudi Arabia and have quietly been making plans to move it to the UK if things get even hotter, if that deal is called off or reduced it will effect the XFL 2.0 financing. 

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29 minutes ago, ltp74 said:

Is McMahon really willing to lose that much or is it bluster? Remember this is Vince McMahon we're talking about. Also isn't most of the money for the XFL 2.0 coming from the WWE's deal with the Saudi's? Sure he's "personally" financing it but he's making back what he cashed in with the deal the WWE has with the Saudi's. The WWE is taking a ton of heat over their upcoming show in Saudi Arabia and have quietly been making plans to move it to the UK if things get even hotter, if that deal is called off or reduced it will effect the XFL 2.0 financing. 

 

Vince sold 3.3M WWE shares in December 2017 for about $105M (~$32/share) to fund Alpha Entertainment, the XFL parent company.

 

That was well before both the Saudi agreement and the more important (and lucrative) network deal with FOX were formally announced.  The FOX deal is worth four time more annually than the Saudi one. Since December 2017, the WWE stock price has increased from $30/share to $82/share with an October high of $97 before the Turkish incident.

Edited by dfwabel

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1 hour ago, ltp74 said:

Is McMahon really willing to lose that much or is it bluster? Remember this is Vince McMahon we're talking about. Also isn't most of the money for the XFL 2.0 coming from the WWE's deal with the Saudi's? Sure he's "personally" financing it but he's making back what he cashed in with the deal the WWE has with the Saudi's. The WWE is taking a ton of heat over their upcoming show in Saudi Arabia and have quietly been making plans to move it to the UK if things get even hotter, if that deal is called off or reduced it will effect the XFL 2.0 financing. 

 

I'm honestly not following whatever's going on with respect to the WWE and Saudi Arabia; I don't follow professional wrestling at all.  What I do know is that McMahon was at least slightly embarrassed by the original XFL's failure and attributes it at least somewhat to NBC's withdrawal as a partner in XFL, LLC (the entity that operated the league).  Where the sources of Vince McMahon's capital come from I don't know, nor frankly do I care that much in the sense that my only knowledge of it is that he's committed $500 million toward the project.

 

Knowing what I know of McMahon, I suspect he's prepared to burn through the entirety of $500 million this time around in an effort to make his concept work, and learned a great deal thanks to the hindsight gained with 18 years of reflection.  I suspect it's a matter of personal pride for him more than a business venture... if it were merely about business, there are myriad other things he could invest in, in sports or elsewhere.  And when something is personal, especially when you're in a situation where you feel the need to prove something, you'll go way beyond what most would in an effort to try and see that a project succeeds - even to a point where you'll throw good money after bad to a point, knowing full-well that you're backing a lost cause.

 

This is why I think the XFL will fare better than AAF over the long haul.  AAF is a product of venture capitalists - pure businessmen - who ultimately will look at balance sheets, income and cash flow statements, and make a decision to put an end to it the moment they realize their sunk costs cannot be recouped.  With the XFL, that decision would be made by one man; one who's been down this road before, and one who to an extent feels he's on a mission.  In that environment, you can't bet on that person succeeding, but you can bet with a good degree of certainty that they'll go farther - probably much farther - than you'd expect them to before resigning themselves to their failure.

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aaf has released information on how the qb draft is gonna work.

 

Quote

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – October 31, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football will hold a “Protect or Pick” quarterback draft, live from the new Esports Arena Las Vegas at The Luxor on November 27, 2018. Television partner CBS Sports will broadcast the first of its kind draft for The Alliance at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT. Former Super Bowl champion and head of football development for The Alliance, Hines Ward, will host the draft.

 

“From combines held over the summer, to our upcoming quarterback camp in San Antonio, our experienced group of GM’s and scouts from each team continue to be impressed with the level of talent on display and available to them,” said Bill Polian, co-founder and head of football, The Alliance. “Our regional allocation system and the ‘Protect or Pick’ draft format were designed to strike a competitive balance across the league and fuel local market interest. The quarterback position is critical to a team’s success, so we knew the importance of making sure each Alliance team had a top-tier quarterback at the helm. We’re confident this group represents the best available players in the market. They are looking forward to the opportunity to begin, extend or revitalize their professional careers, and we’re going to do everything in our power to help them succeed on and off the field.”

 

The “Protect or Pick” draft format begins with each team deciding if they want to protect one quarterback that has been allocated to them from their region. If a team elects to protect, they name the player they are protecting as their first selection in the draft. If they decide to pick, they wait until every other team has made their decision. Once each team makes their decision, the teams that elected to not protect a player make their selection, in the order of the draft, from the remaining pool of all available quarterbacks regardless of region. The Alliance quarterback draft will be comprised of four rounds. The San Diego Fleet have the first pick in the draft, followed by the Birmingham Iron, Arizona Hotshots, Orlando Apollos, Atlanta Legends, Salt Lake Stallions, Memphis Express and San Antonio Commanders.

 

“We look forward to working closely with television partner CBS to tell the stories behind this amazing group of talented, determined and motivated group of quarterbacks — live from Las Vegas,” said Charlie Ebersol, co-founder and CEO, The Alliance. “Our unique ‘Protect or Pick’ format adds intrigue to our first-ever live broadcast while ensuring we stay true to our guiding principles of putting high quality football on the field and creating strong, authentic connections with our local market fans by keeping hometown favorites, home.”

Quarterbacks are allocated based on where they competed in college. If a player’s college is outside The Alliance footprint, he is allocated based on his last NFL/CFL team. If a player’s college is outside The Alliance allocation footprint and he did not play in the NFL or CFL, then he is unallocated.

 

The Alliance will hold a quarterback skills camp November 12-14 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, where player personnel groups from each team will be present to further evaluate signed quarterbacks ahead of the draft.

 

link: https://aaf.com/the-alliance-to-host-first-of-its-kind-protect-or-pick-qb-draft-on-cbs-sports/

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If they were smart they would scrap the purple as well. Trying to be optimistic on the AAF but unless it's called NFL2 I just don't see it lasting

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4 hours ago, sohiosportsfreak said:

If they were smart they would scrap the purple as well. Trying to be optimistic on the AAF but unless it's called NFL2 I just don't see it lasting

 

This is aimed at imagery - having the ability to take camera shots of a (seemingly) full house by ensuring that the fans you have are close together.  It also likely points to how cheap the AAF is actually being run - because from what I know of stadium deals, they probably sliced anywhere from $25-100K/game off of facility rent and other operations costs by blocking off the upper tier.

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4 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

 

This is aimed at imagery - having the ability to take camera shots of a (seemingly) full house by ensuring that the fans you have are close together.  It also likely points to how cheap the AAF is actually being run - because from what I know of stadium deals, they probably sliced anywhere from $25-100K/game off of facility rent and other operations costs by blocking off the upper tier.

I'm looking for the lease on the city page, but for reference, SDSU's new lease has them paying $1.1M/season (as opposed to the former terns of $1 per ticket sold). SDSU will host seven games this season, not including a possible be MWC title game.

AAF also leases the stadium offices.

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3 hours ago, dfwabel said:

I'm looking for the lease on the city page, but for reference, SDSU's new lease has them paying $1.1M/season (as opposed to the former terns of $1 per ticket sold). SDSU will host seven games this season, not including a possible be MWC title game.

AAF also leases the stadium offices.

If/when you find it, please share the link here.  I'd love to read it.

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2 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

If/when you find it, please share the link here.  I'd love to read it.

I saw nothing in the city archives, but I only used AAF/Alliance Football/Legendary Field Exhibitions in the search box and I forgot the other name they are DBA.

 

The Union-Tribune did state on July 24:

Quote

Legendary Field Exhibitions, the parent company of the AAF, will pay rent of $25,000 per game plus operating expenses, estimated to total $100,000 per game. The organization’s lease runs from January 1, 2019 through May 15, 2019.

 

However, the AAF's lease was contingent on the new SDSU lease, which was approved a couple months ago.  Revenues from non-SDSU events is scheduled to be double of the $1.8M, which the city expected from this new SDSU lease.  

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16 hours ago, sohiosportsfreak said:

If they were smart they would scrap the purple as well. Trying to be optimistic on the AAF but unless it's called NFL2 I just don't see it lasting

The purple is their club/loge areas so thats the premium areas for them.  

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$25K base rent per game plus operating expenses of up to an additional $100K... that explains why the top tier's going to be roped off.  It'll keep their per-game costs down into the $50-60K per home date range, which is quite manageable for a venture such as this even if you're drawing 5,000-10,000 a game.

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39 minutes ago, Mac the Knife said:

$25K base rent per game plus operating expenses of up to an additional $100K... that explains why the top tier's going to be roped off.  It'll keep their per-game costs down into the $50-60K per home date range, which is quite manageable for a venture such as this even if you're drawing 5,000-10,000 a game.

Delaware North is the concessionaire for San Diego. They took over in 2015 from Centerplate, but there was a clause to renegotiate if the Chargers left.

 

Here's a cached version of that contract with the city.

https://google.sannet.gov/search?q=cache:ZUHKPcIcmzsJ:docs.sandiego.gov/councilcomm_agendas_attach/2015/bge_150415_8.pdf+Delaware+North&site=sandiego_gov&client=sandiego_gov&proxystylesheet=sandiego_gov&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&access=p&oe=UTF-8

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18 hours ago, sohiosportsfreak said:

If they were smart they would scrap the purple as well. Trying to be optimistic on the AAF but unless it's called NFL2 I just don't see it lasting

 

Disagree. At the Chargers old stadium the second deck (purple) offers the best view of the field and is the club level. It has the only cushioned/plus seats, majority of the bar spaces, and most recently renovated amenities (20 years ago). The set up is the same as what the Aztecs offer.

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11 hours ago, dfwabel said:

Delaware North is the concessionaire for San Diego. They took over in 2015 from Centerplate, but there was a clause to renegotiate if the Chargers left.

 

Here's a cached version of that contract with the city.

https://google.sannet.gov/search?q=cache:ZUHKPcIcmzsJ:docs.sandiego.gov/councilcomm_agendas_attach/2015/bge_150415_8.pdf+Delaware+North&site=sandiego_gov&client=sandiego_gov&proxystylesheet=sandiego_gov&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&access=p&oe=UTF-8

 

The percentage in that document are precisely why people have to cough up $10 for a beer and $6 for a hot dog at stadia and arenas.  Those percentages are ridiculous.

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