ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Times Union Center will be home to arena football once again, as early as 2021. The National Arena League has expanded to 10 teams, and will bring one to the Capital Region.
The team name remains up in the air. Incoming Owner Ron Tridico said they’re leaning toward ‘The Firebirds’, but are still working to acquire the Empire name so they can open up the choice to the fans.
Tridico and his partner Nate Starling have signed a three-year agreement with the arena with every intention of playing come April of 2021, but if anything changes due to COVID-19 concerns, the deal will get rolled over and extend through 2024.
League Commissioner Chris Siegried said the product on the field will be what fans were used to last year with the empire and the goal is long-term stability.
“The City of Albany deserves to have arena football for 20, 30, 40 years down the road. That’s the goal,” Siegried said. “We want this game to be here forever, and Albany’s a huge piece of that.”
“If the league plays, we’re the arena bowl champion in Albany. Why would we not give our fans the opportunity to see arena football at the very first moment it can be played,” Bob Belber, Times Union Center General Manager said.
That’s part of the reason Belber signed with the NAL instead of the IFL who were also interested. The new owners expect to name a coaching staff in the next few weeks. They’ve already reached out to Rob Keefe and Les Moss about the opportunity.