The Arena Football League (AFL) will return to Albany, NY, with the team beginning play at the Times Union Center starting in the spring of 2018. The soon-to-be-named team marks the first time the city has been represented in the AFL since they left the market in 2000. The Arena Football League, founded in 1987, will be entering its 31st season of play in 2018.
The team will be owned and operated by a local group of businessmen including George Hearst III, Dan Nolan and Ed Swyer. The local group has partnered with the ownership group of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League, led by Ron Jaworski, Dick Vermeil, Marques Colston, Jahri Evans and other Philadelphia area businessmen.
“I could not be more excited to be part of the group bringing Arena Football back to Albany,” said Albany AFL co-owner Dan Nolan. “We are bringing back a sport that has proven to be endeared by this city, and bringing it back with a great group of dynamic business leaders, football experts and all around great people.”
“Having the highest level of Arena Football back in the city of Albany is going to be amazing,” said team co-owner George Hearst III. “This team will be a pillar in the community for years to come. Our unique ownership group, which includes local passion with proven AFL and sports operating expertise ensures we will have the first-class business operation that this city deserves.”
Along with a dynamic ownership, both teams will be led by AFL veteran John Adams. Formerly the president of the Philadelphia Soul, Adams will lead both the Philadelphia and Albany operations. Under John’s leadership, each team also have a dedicated local staff with the Albany business office operating out of the Times Union Center.
The team is currently conducting a search for a head coach who will assemble a football staff and roster. The head coach will be announced at the team’s first public event, date to be announced shortly. In addition to the head coach announcement, the team will also announce the local business leader that will run the day to day operations from the offices at the Times Union Center, and fans will have an opportunity to select their season tickets with a select-a-seat event.
“Albany will have a winner on and off the field,” said team co-owner Ron Jaworski. “We will hire a top-notch football coach and this city will have a consistent winner. We will bring players to the roster that will be gentlemen off the field and fierce competitors on the field. The entertainment experience will be second to none, you won’t want to leave your seat!”
“The return of Arena Football to Albany will bring the excitement of football back to the Times Union Center and give fans an exciting brand of football next year,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “This is good news for downtown Albany and the region as we complete an extensive renovation to the arena which will enhance our fan experience and continue to attract new fans to downtown Albany.”
“I was fortunate to be able to see the Arena Football League experience first-hand when it was here from 1990-2000,” said Times Union Center general manager Bob Belber. “With the ownership group we have bringing this fast-paced league back and with the current renovations occurring at the Times Union Center, I have no doubt this is going to be everything it was and more. We’re getting something special back in Albany.”
“The Arena Football League is very pleased to welcome back the great city of Albany and are very proud to be working with great community leaders like Mr. Dan Nolan, Mr. George Hearst, Mr Ed Swyer and the entire ownership group,” said AFL Commissioner Scott Butera. “Albany is a great sports city with a vibrant, knowledgeable fan base. The AFL is dedicated to offering a complete sports-based entertainment experience catering to families and fans of all ages. I am certain the city will enjoy the AFL's focus on coupling an exciting, action packed sport with a 30-year history with cutting edge media, viewership and technology.”
The name of the team has yet to be selected. Fans can go to AlbanyAFL.com and submit a team name suggestion. Final choices will be selected and made available for fan vote. The winning name will be announced after the voting period. The person that submitted the team name that was ultimately selected will receive a special team prize pack.
Fans can secure their season tickets for the new Albany arena football team now with a $50 deposit per seat ($75 for VIP seats) by calling 518-533-2200 or by going to AlbanyAFL.com. A team representative will contact those that have submitted a deposit in the upcoming 1-2 weeks to select their specific seats, which will be done in the order in which deposits were received.