The San Diego Fleet has released a statement on the dismantling of their league, a day after the Alliance of American Football (AAF) decided to prematurely end its first season.
Majority owner Tom Dundon, who invested $250 million into the league earlier this season, has reportedly pulled funding in light of the AAF’s financial struggles. According to Pro Football Talk, the league needed $20 million to last through the end of its first year of existence.
Dundon had the option to pull funding, and reportedly did so after putting $70 million into the league.
All @TheAAF football operations will be suspended in the next few hours, per source with knowledge of situation. League is not folding, yet. But it heading that way.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 2, 2019
"The San Diego Fleet organization is shocked and incredibly disappointed to learn of chairman Tom Dundon’s decision to suspend football operations of The Alliance of American Football (AAF), as announced yesterday.
"We are grateful to our players, coaches, administrative staff members, corporate partners and especially to our fans for their faith in our product and support of our team.
"From the inception of the league, our goal was to return high-caliber professional football back to San Diego. Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian delivered with a quality product that fans consumed on national TV, online and here in San Diego, where their dedication to the new home team was abundantly evident by the electric atmosphere at SDCCU Stadium.
"We hope to be able to share information from the AAF about ticket refunds in the future."
San Diego was scheduled to visit Orlando Saturday, before wrapping up the season week 10 at SDCCU Stadium April 14 against Arizona.
Fans received an email Tuesday afternoon announcing the April 14 game has been canceled.
A letter sent to employees from the AAF board Tuesday afternoon, and obtained by the Associated Press, gave no reason for ending the inaugural season, only that the decision was made "after careful consideration." It also said a small staff would remain to seek new investment capital and "restructure our business. Should those efforts prove successful, we look forward to working with many of you on season two."
The league had teams in Orlando, Atlanta, San Diego, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Birmingham and Memphis.