The XFL filed for bankruptcy Monday, saying that it owed millions of dollars to creditors. That includes $1.6 million to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, already struggling with coronavirus-related losses.
Commission President Kitty Ratcliffe said that the league had a three-year lease with the commission for the Dome at America’s Center. She said her agency had an irrevocable letter of credit from the league for the money owed in the lease. It turned that letter over to the bank on Friday, the day the football league announced it was suspending operations, Ratcliffe said. Last month the XFL canceled the remainder of the 2020 season, its comeback campaign after a failed try in 2001.
“It’s just one of many things we’re dealing with,” Ratcliffe told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Last week, city officials put an expansion of the downtown convention center on hold. The expansion bonds would have meant about $5 million in cash for the commission, which has less than $2 million in cash on hand and is spending $1 million a month.
The commission is largely funded by taxes on hotels, which are themselves struggling because of the coronavirus. The commission furloughed dozens of staffers last month and cut pay 20% for all employees.
Bob Wallace Jr., a lawyer for the commission, said the league was current on expenses for the games played at the Dome to date. He said the letter of credit meant that the money owed to the commission was secured by a bank, but said he also was not a bankruptcy attorney and declined to speculate how that process would go forward. He had also not yet seen any of the filings in the case.
The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, says the league owes between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors somewhere between $10 million and $50 million. Among the other unsecured creditors owed money by Alpha Entertainment LLC is $633,333 in wages to BattleHawks coach Jonathan Hayes.
Alpha is owned by the World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and its head, Vince McMahon, the filings say.
The league said Monday in a news release that it wasn’t insulated “from the harsh economic impacts and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 crisis.”
“This is a heartbreaking time for many, including our passionate fans, players and staff, and we are thankful to them, our television partners, and the many Americans who rallied to the XFL for the love of football,” the league said in its statement.
The XFL had eight franchises this season and played five games out of a planned 10-game schedule. The BattleHawks were tied for the top spot in the Eastern Division with a 3-2 record when play was suspended, and led the league in attendance and television ratings. They had played two of their scheduled five home games when play was halted.
The bankruptcy filing actually names the St. Louis Sports Commission as one of the creditors, but the heads of the sports commission and the tourism bureau said it was an error.
“It’s a mistake,” Sports Commission President Frank Viverito said. “I think we were misidentified.”
Viverito said the pair often are confused.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
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