Destroyers Columbus Destoyers closing up shop as AFL evaluates financial structure

Photo by: Ralph Schudel

Just three months removed from the completion of their first season back in the Arena Football League, The Columbus Destroyers are once again on hiatus.

According to an article in the Times Union a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed against the AFL by an insurance carrier that provided workers compensation coverage between 2009 and 2012, before current management became involved, has caused the league to reevaluate its current business model.

Recently the AFL recently restructured its ownership model following the single-entity structure of leagues like Major League Soccer and the forthcoming XFL. This means the league controls all six teams with the former owners becoming shareholders in the league.

On Tuesday night Boe released an official statement confirming the Times Union report.

From AFL commissioner Randall Boe:

“Earlier today, the Arena Football League was forced to make the difficult, but necessary decision to close our team services and business operations units in our local markets.

These closures have resulted in the elimination of various staff positions, and is a direct consequence of the current financial constraints facing the AFL, which include extensive legacy liabilities and a recent multimillion-dollar litigation filed against the League by an insurance carrier that provided coverage for the AFL between 2009 and 2012. Those liabilities, which are all related to prior League operations, severely constrain the League’s ability to expand and operate.  

The financial challenges we are now dealing with do not, however, reflect the determined efforts of our current shareholders to maintain the viability of the AFL. Our shareholders have made significant investments to restructure and re-launch the AFL and make it successful. Additionally, they have continued to work actively with the League office to grow the sport in their respective markets. Every touchdown celebrated and every ArenaBowl trophy ever hoisted can be credited to their efforts and to our incredibly loyal and growing fanbase.

The AFL is innovative, brave and fun. Our teams push barriers and continually experiment with dynamic ways to engage fans, creating some of the most memorable live action sports experiences.

We would like to thank our employees for their tremendous service during their time with the AFL and we value the important role they played in being our front-line ambassadors for the sport.

Looking forward, the AFL will continue to push ahead with efforts to identify solutions to address the aforementioned financial constraints. We have not yet made the final determination that it will be necessary to suspend all League operations, but we expect that decision to be made within the next few weeks. Should we not be able to move forward, we will issue information about all applicable refunds at that time. We are exploring every possible avenue to continue bringing AFL football to our fans, including further evolutions to the current business model, and are engaging with prospective investors and supporters who are interested in seeing the League continue to grow.”

This involves the closing of business in all six AFL markets, including Columbus.

The Destroyers returned to action this season following an eleven year intermission. It wasn’t a dream return to the league as the team went 1-11, but the front office was excited for what lied ahead in 2020.


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