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Arena Football League kicks off season with new playoff rules; 2018 schedule released

February 13, 2018 04:40 pm Updated: February 13, 2018 04:40 pm

ALBANY — The Arena Football League announced its 2018 schedule along with some exciting new playoff rule changes that guarantee the excitement of a home playoff game in every city and a new League-Wide Pass ticket that will give fans a chance to experience the fun of arena football on the road.

“Arena football is one of the fastest, most engaging games out there,” said Ron Jaworski, Chairman of the AFL Executive Committee. “We are excited to announce some exciting changes for the 2018 season that we believe will bring fans even closer to the game — both at home and on the road. These changes guarantee the excitement of a home playoff game in every city, and give fans a chance to experience the fun of an away game.”

More detail on these changes, as well as some exciting new league partnerships, will be announced in the coming weeks.

New Playoff Rules

For the first time ever, the league will open the 2018 playoffs with a two-game home and home playoff series.

The highest seeded team for each matchup will have the option to select their home date weekend in the playoff series. If the same team wins both postseason games of the home and home series, that team will advance to ArenaBowl XXXI.

In the event that the series ends in a 1-1 tie, the team with the highest aggregate score in the series will advance. Should the aggregate score of the series be tied at the end of regulation of the second game, the teams will immediately play a standard format overtime period to determine which team advances. The champion of the Arena League will still be crowned in a traditional head-to-head matchup in ArenaBowl XXXI.

The competition committee also expects to make changes to game play that will shorten the duration of games and speed up the pace of play. This will be done in an effort to create an even more engaging and explosive game, and improve the game day experience for our fans.

Specific rule changes as it relates to game play will be announced at a later date.

New League-Wide Pass Ticketing

This year, when fans purchase season tickets for their hometown team, they will also receive complimentary tickets in each of the opposing teams’ markets. This new League-Wide Pass will give fans an opportunity to see and support their team on the road, and experience the fun of arena football in each of our great AFL cities.

Flex Pack Tickets

A limited number of Flex Packs are on sale now for the Empire’s inaugural season. The eight game flex packs give fans the flexibility to attend the games they want to see most without having to worry about a ticket going unused.

Flex Packs consist of eight vouchers that can be redeemed for any regular season home game. The vouchers offer savings off individual game tickets and can be used in multiple combinations, such as: eight seats for one game, four seats for two games, etc.

Flex packs can be redeemed in advance at the Albany Empire Office located at the Times Union Center, or on game days at the Times Union Center Box Office.

Family Four Packs

The Albany Empire are now offering Family Four Packs for the inaugural game on April 14 at the Times Union Center. This is the fans’ first opportunity to purchase tickets for the team’s inaugural game before single game tickets go on sale to the public. The package includes: four tickets to the inaugural game and four food vouchers. The vouchers can be redeemed for four sodas, and a choice of either a soft pretzel, popcorn or hotdog.

This package offers significant food and beverage savings for the Albany Empire’s historic inaugural game.

Pearl Street Block Parties

Along with the release of the league schedule, the Albany Empire also announced the return of the Arena Football Block Parties, presented by Miller Lite and Heineken.

Three hours prior to home games, South Pearl Street, located directly in front of the Times Union Center, will close to traffic and open to Albany Empire fans of all ages.

The block parties will feature live music and DJ’s, fan interactive areas, food and beverage vendors, a kid zone and much more. B95.5, 100.9 The Cat and 100.7 WHUD are partnering with The Albany Empire and will help program and promote the festivities prior to each Empire home game.

“Ever since we announced the return of the AFL to Albany, the most asked question from the community has been, ‘are we bringing back the block parties?’ Well I am happy to announce that, indeed, we are!” said George Manias, Vice President of Business Operations for the Albany Empire. “With great partners like DeCresente and Albany Broadcasting on board, we will take our block parties to a whole new level.”


April 14 — v. Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

April 21 — at Washington, 7 p.m.

April 28 — at Baltimore, 3 p.m.

May 5 — v. Washington, 7:30 p.m.

May 19 — at Philadelphia, 6 p.m.

May 26 — v. Washington, 6 p.m.

June 2 — v. Baltimore, 7 p.m.

June 9 — v. Baltimore, 7 p.m.

June 16 — v. Philadelphia, 6 p.m.

June 23 — at Baltimore, 7:30 p.m.

June 29 — at Washington, 7 p.m.

July 7 — v. Philadelphia, 7 p.m.