Albany to Limit Fan Attendance for Empire Games
Many people in the Capital Region - myself included - can't wait for the Empire to make their return to Albany first time since their 2019 Arena Bowl Championship. And while it may not be quite as loud as we remember it, it's not because of a lack of fan support for the indoor football league we've grown to love. For us, it's strictly a numbers game, and on Monday it was announced how many fans the Albany Empire will be allowed to have in attendance.
Unlike other arena football cities across the country that have struggled with attendance, Albany has not. But attendance during the pandemic will be capped and on Monday, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy announced that there will be "at least 25 percent capacity" according to a report from News Channel 13.
The Albany Empire are slated to have their home opener on May 22nd versus the Ontario Bandits at the Times Union Center in what will be their inaugural season in the National Arena League. In previous seasons, the Empire were a part of the now defunct Arena Football League.
To put the attendance cap in perspective, the 2019 Arena Bowl Championship game between Albany and Philadelphia was played in front of sellout crowd of just over 12,000 fans in the TU Center.At 25 percent, 2021 attendance would be in the neighborhood of around 3,000 or so; a far cry from the total that normally pack the stands.
The Empire have announced that they will be playing an eight-game schedule in their upcoming season and there has been some talk about the games being broadcast on Youtube Live so that fans unable to make the games are able to follow their team.