XFL files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after suspending operations

The XFL's parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday, the first business day after the league suspended operations and laid off almost all of its employees.

The filing, officially made by Alpha Entertainment, listed the XFL with assets and liabilities each in the range of $10 million to $50 million. The largest creditor was listed as the St. Louis Sports Commission at $1.6 million. Seven of the league's eight coaches also are among the top creditors.

In a statement, the XFL attributed its decision to the coronavirus pandemic:

"The XFL quickly captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people who love football. Unfortunately, as a new enterprise, we were not insulated from the harsh economic impacts and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Accordingly, we have filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. 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."

Owner Vince McMahon, who is also chairman and CEO of the WWE, has not spoken publicly about the XFL's demise.

XFL chief operating officer Jeffrey Pollack held a conference call Friday with employees to announce the layoffs and suspension of operations. Although Pollack stopped short of saying the league is going out of business, staffers left the call convinced that the XFL will not return.

A source close to the bankruptcy filing said the league could be sold during the process.

McMahon announced the return of the XFL in January 2018, and the league spent two years in development before debuting in February. The eight-team league made it through five weeks of games before suspending and finally canceling its season because of the pandemic. It pledged as recently as three weeks ago to return in 2021, but that changed after McMahon began assessing the league's future following WrestleMania 36 on April 4-5.

The XFL paid its employees through April 12, plus accrued vacation time. The league also plans to refund all advance ticket sales.