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Crippled Arena Football League Shuts Down and Files Bankruptcy

Jeremy Hill

(Bloomberg) -- The Arena Football League LLC, which runs a scaled-down indoor version of the gridiron game, has shut down and plans to liquidate.

The league’s bankruptcy petition filed Wednesday in Delaware listed liabilities of as much as $50 million and assets of no more than $10 million. The Chapter 7 filing signals that the AFL will sell off everything it owns to pay creditors because doesn’t see a way to keep operating or any hope of a turnaround.

“We all love the game and tried very hard to make it successful, but we simply weren’t able to raise the capital necessary to grow the league, resolve substantial legacy liabilities and make it financially viable,” Commissioner Randall Boe said in a statement.

Along with the usual array of furniture and computers, the assets include an inventory of footballs, jerseys, hats and shirts with team logos, a long list of medical supplies and painkillers, eight sets of crutches (tall and regular), four boxes of mouth guards and a t-shirt cannon.

Play Halted

The league halted local business activities in October and explored other solutions before deciding to quit operating, according to the statement. The league finished its season with half a dozen teams.

Arena Football League teams -- among them the Albany Empire, Philadelphia Soul and Washington Valor -- played a version of American football modified for smaller, indoor fields. It launched careers of some notable stars including Kurt Warner, who went on to the National Football League and led the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl victory.

This marks the second professional football league to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy this year after the upstart Alliance of American Football did so in April.

The case is Arena Football League LLC, 19-12541-JTD, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hill in New York at jhill273@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rick Green at rgreen18@bloomberg.net, Boris Korby

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