Alternative football league the XFL has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week, just one month after declaring it had cancelled the remainder of its inaugural season as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement issued by league parent company Alpha Entertainment read: “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 US 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.”

Alpha Entertainment’s filing listed the XFL with assets and liabilities in the range of $10m to $50m, with the St Louis Sports Commission identified as the largest creditor at $1.6m. Seven of the league’s eight coaches also featured high up on the list of creditors.

During its brief time, the eight-team league had formalized a series of high-profile partnerships with the likes of DraftKings, PointsBet, Monkey Knife Fight, Genius Sports, ABC, ESPN, FOX Bet, Sportradar and The Action Network. 

Initial signs had been encouraging for the XFL which opened the season with robust ratings, but they continued to slide until proceedings were ultimately halted by the coronavirus outbreak after five weeks of play.   

Alpha Entertainment said in its court filing that the decision to surrender the remainder of the season, which should have finished on April 26, cost tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue for the league. It’s employees had been paid up until April 12 and there are plans to refund all advance ticket sales.