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Albany Empire (AFL)

The Albany Empire was a professional arena football team based in Albany, New York, that began play in the Arena Football League (AFL) in 2018. Home games were played at Times Union Center located in downtown Albany.

Albany Empire
Established 2018
Folded 2019
Played in Times Union Center
in Albany, New York
Albany Empire logo
League/conference affiliations
Arena Football League (20182019)
Team colorsFiery reddish orange, dark navy blue, grey
Owner(s)Trifecta Sports and Entertainment[1]
Main owners:
George Randolph Hearst III
Dan Nolan
Ed Swyer
Partner owners (with Philadelphia Soul):
Ron Jaworski
Craig Spencer
Pete Ciarrocchi
Cosmo DeNicola
Martin E. Judge
Dick Vermeil
Marques Colston
Jahri Evans
Nicholas Giuffre
Philip Jaurigue
Stewart Anmuth
Gil Peter
Hal Brunson
PresidentJohn Adams
Head coachRob Keefe
Team history
  • Albany Empire (2018–2019)
League championships (1)
  • 2019
Conference championships (0)
Division championships (0)
Playoff appearances (2)
Home arena(s)

The Empire was Albany's third arena football team and second AFL team; it succeeded the original Albany Firebirds who began AFL play in 1990 and enjoyed great success, most notably winning ArenaBowl XIII, before moving to Indianapolis following the 2000 season, and later the Albany Conquest who played in the af2 developmental league from 2002 until that league folded after the 2009 season (and was known as the Firebirds for that last season).


After the American Hockey League's Albany Devils relocated to Binghamton, NY, the Times Union Center was left without a full-time professional tenant. (It remained home to the Siena College men's basketball team of the NCAA Division I Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.) On March 14, 2017, Center general manager Bob Belber confirmed that it was in early discussions to bring an AFL team back to Albany.[2]

On October 24, the new Albany team was officially announced as a member of the AFL for the 2018 season. The local ownership group (led by George Randolph Hearst III) has partnered with that of their AFL leaguemates the Philadelphia Soul (which includes Ron Jaworski, Dick Vermeil, Marques Colston and Jahri Evans among others) to run both teams' business operations while keeping their football operations separate.[3] (This marks the second time that the AFL has announced two teams with common ownership and management but separate football operations, as the Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade are both owned and operated by D.C.-area businessman Ted Leonsis but are competitors on the field and separately coached.) On November 7, Rob Keefe was named the Albany team's head coach.[4] On November 9, the Albany team announced that the four team name finalists were the Empire, Fire, Machine and Phoenix.[5] Voting ended on November 15 and the winning name was announced on January 23, 2018, as the Albany Empire.

The team played its first game on April 14, 2018, losing at home to the Philadelphia Soul 56–35 before a sellout crowd of 13,648.[6] On August 11, 2019, the Empire won their first ArenaBowl defeating the Philadelphia Soul 45–27.

After the 2019 season, the AFL announced it was ceasing operating teams in local markets and looking into becoming a traveling league. However, the entire league filed for bankruptcy in November 2019 and ceased operations.


Final rosterEdit

Albany Empire roster


Wide receivers

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs


Reserve lists

Recallable reassignment

Rookies in italics
Roster updated May 16, 2019
24 Active, 12 Inactive

More rosters

Individual awardsEdit