New team bringing arena football back to Albany

Ashley Miller
Updated: August 14, 2020 05:02 PM
Created: August 13, 2020 01:13 PM

Football is coming back to Albany. It was announced this morning a new arena football team will play at the Times Union Center.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy called it “the worst kept secret” during a news conference Thursday morning at the Times Union Center.


Albany’s team will be one of three expansion teams joining the National Arena League. They’re expected to start in the 2021 season, which will begin in April and run through the playoffs in August.

Albany has a long history with arena football. The Firebirds played there for 10 years and the Empire most recently played for two seasons. Both teams won an Arena Bowl championship.

The NAL currently has 10 teams with the possibility of more.

Orlando Predators owner Ron Tridico is the owner of Albany’s new team, which doesn’t have a name yet. However, they do have the rights to the Firebirds name, and they’re working to acquire the Empire name as well.

“When you lose something like that, you can take a position of, ‘We lost it, that’s too bad,’ or we can take a position of, ‘Let’s get it back.’ So that’s what we did,” Times Union Center General Manager Bob Belber said. “We went out, we tried to find someone that would come back and bring this sport back and bring the best possible team back.”

The new team has signed a three-year agreement to play at the Times Union Center.

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