Albany Empire
Established 2018
Folded 2019
Played in Times Union Center
in Albany, New York
Albany Empire.png
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 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.

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.[6]

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.[7] On August 11, 2019, the Empire won their first ArenaBowl, defeating the Philadelphia Soul 45–27.[8]

After the 2019 season, the AFL announced it was ceasing operating teams in local markets and looking into becoming a traveling league.[9] However, the entire league filed for bankruptcy in November 2019 and ceased operations.[10]

Season-by-season results

ArenaBowl Champions ArenaBowl Appearance Division Champions Playoff Berth
Season League Regular season Postseason results
Finish Wins Losses
Albany Empire
2018 AFL 1st 8 4 Lost in playoffs (Washington)
2019 AFL 1st 10 2 Won semifinals (Baltimore)
Won ArenaBowl XXXII (Philadelphia) 45–27
Total 18 6 (Regular season)
4 1 (Postseason)
22 7


Individual awards

Offensive Lineman of the Year
Season Player Position
2018 Hayworth Hicks OL
2019 Ryan Cave OL
Defensive Lineman of the Year
Season Player Position
2018 Joe Sykes DL
Most Valuable Player
Season Player Position
2018 Tommy Grady QB
Offensive Player of the Year
Season Player Position
2018 Tommy Grady QB
2019 Malachi Jones WR
Defensive Player of the Year
Season Player Position
2018 Terence Moore LB
Rookie of the Year
Season Player Position
2018 Malachi Jones WR
Kicker of the Year
Season Player Position
2019 Adrian Trevino K


Head coaches

Name Term Regular season Playoffs Awards
W L Win% W L Win%
Rob Keefe 20182019 18 6 .750 4 1 .800


Albany Empire staff
  • Albany ownership group – George Randolph Hearst III
  • Albany ownership group – Daniel Nolan
  • Albany ownership group – Ed Swyer
  • Philadelphia ownership group – Craig A. Spencer
  • Philadelphia ownership group – Ron Jaworski
  • Philadelphia ownership group – Pete Ciarrocchi
  • Philadelphia ownership group – Cosmo DeNicola
  • Philadelphia ownership group – Martin E. Judge
  • Philadelphia ownership group – Marques Colston
  • Philadelphia ownership group – Dick Vermeil
  • Philadelphia ownership group – Nicholas Giuffre
  • Philadelphia ownership group – Jahri Evans
  • Philadelphia ownership group – Philip Jaurigue
  • Philadelphia ownership group – Stewart Anmuth
  • Philadelphia ownership group – Gil Peters
  • Philadelphia ownership group – Hal Brunson
  Front office[12]
  • Chief operating officer – George Manias
  • Chief ticketing officer – David Beck
  • Vice president of finance – Carly Griffin


  • Head coach – Rob Keefe
  • Assistant head coach/general manager – Les Moss
  • Director of player personnel/line coach – Dave Ewart
  • Director of player operations – Brandon Goldstein
  • Head athletic trainer – Brett Allen
As of 2019 season


  1. ^ "THE ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE EXPANDS TO ATLANTIC CITY, N.J." Arena Football League. January 22, 2019.
  2. ^ Dougherty, Pete (March 14, 2017). "Times Union Center eyeing return of Arena Football, indoor lacrosse". Times Union. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  3. ^ Skodnick, Leif; Hughes, Steve (October 24, 2017). "It's Official: Arena Football League returning to Times Union Center". Times Union. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  4. ^ "Albany AFL Names Rob Keefe as Head Coach". November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  5. ^ Skodnick, Leif (November 9, 2017). "Fans can vote for Albany AFL team name". Times Union. Archived from the original on November 11, 2017. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  6. ^ "Albany AFL owners look to build 'Empire'". Spectrum News. January 23, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  7. ^ Singelais, Mark (April 15, 2018). "Empire open with defeat". Times Union. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  8. ^ Weiner, Bob (August 12, 2019). "Empire wins ArenaBowl 32 | The Daily Gazette". The Daily Gazette. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  9. ^ Dougherty, Pete (October 28, 2019). "Albany Empire, other Arena Football League teams close operations". Times Union. Archived from the original on October 29, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  10. ^ Gleeson, Scott (November 27, 2019). "Arena Football League files for bankruptcy, ceases all operations". USA Today. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  11. ^ "Albany Empire Ownership". Albany Empire. Archived from the original on February 8, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  12. ^ "Albany Empire Front Office". Albany Empire. Archived from the original on December 6, 2018. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  13. ^ "Albany Empire Coaching Staff". Albany Empire. Archived from the original on February 9, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2019.