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Albany Empire

Arena football to return to Albany

Aidan Joly



It’s official. The Arena Football League is returning to Albany.

It was revealed in a report from the Times Union Monday that the sport will return to the Capital City for the first time since 2009. The team, that has not been named yet will begin play at the Times Union Center in spring 2018 as part of a four-month schedule that stretches from April to August.

The same league operated in Albany with the Firebirds from 1990-2000 until the team moved to Indianapolis.


The new team is partnering with the Philadelphia Soul, as part ownership from them and part local owners, including George Hearst III, the publisher and CEO of the Times Union, and Dan Nolan, president and CEO of Hugh Johnson Advisors. The Soul are one of the most successful teams in the Arena Football League and are two-time defending league champions. The majority owner of the team is Ron Jaworski, an NFL QB from 1973-1989 with the Rams, Eagles, Dolphins, and Chiefs. The operations of the two teams will be separate.

The public is being asked to assist in naming the new team, and a head coach is expected to be named in the coming weeks.

The team will be formally introduced on Tuesday.

Aidan Joly joined Upstate Courier Sports in February 2016 and became managing editor of the sports department in August 2017. He covers Section II athletics, the Siena men's basketball team and the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Aidan attends Saratoga Springs High School and will be attending Canisius College in the fall of 2018. Aidan can be contacted through social media (Twitter is @ByAidanJoly) or by email,