Days after laying off employees, XFL files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Three days after suspending operations and laying off its employees, the XFL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday, according to online court records.

The startup spring football league, which was canceled last month due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware and listed between $10 million and $50 million in both estimated assets and liabilities.

"Unfortunately, as a new enterprise, we were not insulated from the harsh economic impacts and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 crisis," the league said in a statement provided to multiple news outlets.

Houston Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker was one of the stars of the fledgling XFL, which filed for bankruptcy on Monday. (Photo: Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports)

The move almost certainly signifies the end of yet another promising spring football league, and the death of the second iteration of the XFL under Vince McMahon, the billionaire CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment.

A spokesperson for WWE did not immediately respond to an email from USA TODAY Sports on Monday afternoon seeking comment.

The XFL launched this spring with several recognizable names, an innovative new rulebook and the belief that it would have a long enough runway, thanks to McMahon's deep pockets, to build a genuinely devout fanbase. But halfway through its inaugural season, the coronavirus began to impact American life and shut down sports leagues. And the XFL was among its many victims.

The league initially suspended play but expressed optimism about a 2021 return. That sentiment changed, however, as the impacts of COVID-19 continued into April and the XFL struggled to maintain its financial commitments without the benefit of game revenue.

In the bankruptcy filing Monday, the XFL listed seven of its eight head coaches as among the creditors with the largest unsecured claims — led by Dallas Renegades coach Bob Stoops, who is owed $1.08 million. Companies dealing with broadcasting, ticketing and merchandise are also on the list, as are several groups related to stadium or facility use.

The XFL is the second spring football league in as many years to file for bankruptcy without completing its first season. Last spring, the Alliance of American Football filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy — which involves the liquidation of assets — after late-arriving investor Tom Dundon decided to cease operations.

Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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