An agreement has been struck between the Times Union Center and the owners of the Orlando Predators to bring an arena football team back to Albany for the 2021 season. Both parties are expected to finalize the deal next week, which will put a franchise in Albany for three years. Times Union Center General Manager Bob Belber told the Times Union:
We have reached terms for a lease agreement. We don’t have a signed lease yet, but we’ve reached terms for that lease. I expect we’ll probably have a signed lease by early next week. But it’s not done yet. So I would say it’s not a story until we have a signed lease, and there’s a deposit requirement that’s part of it.
Orlando Predators co-owner Ron Tridico sounds a little more certain:
Tridico also says the team name will be either the Albany Empire or the Albany Firebirds, however the rights for 'Albany Empire' were sold at auction after the Arena Football League folded in 2019.
Belber says a Zoom press conference will take place when the deal is final.
Assuming the pandemic is over, the league could start playing as early as April. If the pandemic persists, the season will not begin until 2022. The league, called the National Arena League, currently has eight teams located in the eastern US.
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