The Arena Football League has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy and is fully ceasing operations, Commissioner Randall Boe announced in a statement on Wednesday. The league says that they were evaluating potential strategic operations to avoid such a fate, but ultimately had to close shop.
“We’re all disappointed that we couldn’t find a way forward and we wanted to thank our fans, our players, coaches, everyone who loved the Arena Football League,” Boe said in the released statement. “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 grown the League, resolve the substantial legacy liabilities and make it financially viable.”
The league was originally founded in the late 1980’s, but has gone through a number of iterations and has struggled to build up capital over the past few decades. Back in 2009 the entire season was canceled as they attempted to create a better long-term plan for a more financially stable league.
While they were able to return in 2010, they did continue to struggle along the way and lost a handful of franchises in the process. They did seem to catch up some ground recently, however, as they announced last February that were re-adding the the Columbus Destroyers to bring the league back to six teams. They also announced a broadcast agreement with ESPN to air all games on ESPN3 and Arena Bowl XXXII on ESPN2.
Alas, that slight bump was clearly not enough to keep things going financially. Prior to this announcement on Wednesday, the league announced the closure of all six teams to once again re-evaluate their financial situation. This time around they’ve come to the conclusion of closing their doors for good.