What Led to the AFL Officially Shutting Down?
Man: Quinn & Cantara.
Cantara: Hey, Paul.
Quinn: Hey, buddy.
Paul: Good morning, good morning, good morning. Woke up, more snow than I would’ve guessed.
Cantara: You guys did cab rides the night before Thanksgiving, right?
Paul: We did, yeah.
Cantara: You guys, thank you for that. You guys are the best when it comes that.
Quinn: Did you go anywhere? Did you go anywhere for the holidays or for the holiday?
Paul: No. No, I kept it in, laid low.
Quinn: There you go. That’s right.
Paul: I’m, like, napping now instead going out ’til 4:00 in the morning, taking naps in the day.
Cantara: Yeah, we know what that’s all about. It’s okay. Don’t be afraid of a nap, Paul. Don’t be ashamed.
Quinn: Don’t shame yourself or guilt yourself about it.
Paul: No, you’re right.
Cantara: Well, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the Arena Football League officially shut down. Prior to that, they had suspended operations, and we have Paul on here to kind of tell us what brought down the AFL, which had been around…it was one of the, I think the third oldest professional football league in the nation or North America and they’re around for, like, 30 years. What did in the Arena Football League, Paul?
Paul: You know, I think combination, but the one to point to is an old legal obligation. They owed $2.4 million allegedly to an insurance carrier for workers’ compensation benefits, mind you, 2009 to 2012, before Albany even got back involved in the league. So, they couldn’t overcome the debt. There were other cities that didn’t have nearly the attendance that we had, not even close. So, around here, you thought, “Wow, this thing is humming,” because it was, but around the league, some of the other teams were struggling, but this debt, they said was insurmountable, so they filed Chapter 7.
Quinn: As far as workers’ comp, I mean, I get how that works, but for a football team, that seems to be, to me, like, it might be a little bit more of a struggle.
Cantara: To pay off your work…?
Quinn: You know, because it’s a fluid business.
Cantara: Yeah, because 50% of your guys are injured, right?
Quinn: Yeah, and part of their job is getting hurt.
Paul: You know, and the staff too because, you know, they all lost their jobs too. You got the players who lost their jobs. You got all the administration and staff. So, you know, there were few hundred people actually who worked at the Arena Football League, so just general workers’ comp. But yeah, you’ve got that.
Quinn: Tommy Grady just bought a house.
Cantara: Yeah, yeah, the quarterback just bought a house here.
Paul: Yeah, I know. I met him when he first came in, him and his wife and his family. Great guy, glad he’s here. He seems like he’ll land on his feet doing something else. But sure, no, yeah, he uprooted himself from Florida, moved up here.
Quinn: See, this is who hangs out with guys like Grady, dude, it’s Paul Harding. That’s who hangs… They rub shoulders at these parties.
Paul: No, one time. He won’t remember. He won’t remember. I think I just got an autograph and I kept moving. Yeah, [inaudible 00:02:44].
Cantara: Let’s go back to, I don’t know, what is Chapter 7? I always hear Chapter 11? What’s the difference?
Paul: Yeah, Chapter 7 is a complete liquidation. We’re shutting down operations. This thing is not resurrecting itself under its present form. So, yeah, you’re got different…you’ve got chapter you hear about. There’s personal Chapter 7.
Quinn: But you recover from 7 faster, right?
Paul: It kind of takes the debt away much quicker. You don’t have, like, a long payment plan. You’ll hear the payment plans people go through, individuals and companies. You’ll hear Chapter 13. We’re just gonna reorganize. We’re gonna come back at yah, but we’re gonna pay everybody about 50 cents on the dollar or whatever we’re gonna do. Here, guys, it’s done, take the desks, take the phones. We are no longer in operation.
Cantara: So, in your professional opinion, Paul, there will be no resurrection of the Arena Football League in any other way, shape, or form, right?
Quinn: Yeah, and Roger Wild kind of said the same thing recently. You know, it was just, yeah, this is probably the death knell for that league even though, as you say, it’s been around a long time and it had lots of success, but to get it back up and running… And if they do that, it would be markets like ours, you know, not Baltimore, not Tampa. They’ve already got professional baseball, and football, and basketball, and it would be a… So, it works in the Albanys, in the Columbias, in these midrange markets.
Cantara: It works in these small markets or smaller markets, like, Albany as far as attendance, but it doesn’t work in these markets to generate revenue from sponsors. They need big market style sponsors, but they need smaller markets that don’t have any other sports outlets.
Quinn: There were a couple of big companies, if they were doing better, it would be a perfect fit.
Cantara: I mean, I think Albany did great. I just hope that the Arena Football League didn’t know they were gonna fold and come here and kind of, you know, bleed Albany dry for two seasons.
Paul: I feel like you wanna succeed no matter what when, you know, when you’re putting that crap together, so that’s tough.
Cantara: Well, that’s what happened to the Arena Football League. And if you missed that news, it kind of went under the radar because it broke Wednesday right before we all left for the holiday.
Quinn: Well, thanks, Paul. We appreciate it. You wanna go play some flag football over the holidays maybe, you know, get a team together?
Paul: Don’t do that either. No, it’ll interrupt my napping.
Quinn: Told you, he’s gonna be with Tommy Grady.
Cantara: He’s happing. Put your sweatpants on, curl up on a couch, Paul, watch one of them Lifetime Christmas movies and enjoy yourself.
Quinn: Paul Harding…
Paul: That’s it. That sounds like the plan.
Quinn: …from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, 1800law1010, 1800law1010.com.
Cantara: And thanks for the cab rides last week. We appreciate that.
Paul: You’re welcome, guys. Thank you.