Albany Panthers will play at the Civic Center - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Panthers will play at the Civic Center

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  The check is in the bank, and pro football is a done deal. Albany will once again have arena football at the Civic Center this spring. It's taken months of negotiations, and several different teams and owners, but football will return.

 If you're an arena football fan, here's what you've been waiting on, season tickets go on sale Monday. And the first game is just a few months away. We met some fans today, who say that's not soon enough.

For Elaine Burns and Delana Wilson, "April seems like it's never gonna get here."

It's a day they've awaited since hearing the Wildcats aren't returning.  "Have been waiting for this day ever since, not very patiently."

Friday, they met the Albany Panthers managing partner Rod Chappell, who says they are just the kind of fans he's happy to see. "They're passionate and that's what we want. Passionate fans that want to come to every game."

Getting to this point, where a team was secured for the Civic Center wasn't easy.

"The challenges became quite difficult for a time," said Albany Assistant City Mgr. Wes Smith.

But Smith has already cashed the first $5,000 rent check and knows that this team is going to bring lots of value to the city. "Economically, it clearly helps the community, folks coming in and watching the game."

Chappell says it will be a far bigger investment than just the rent money. "This is more of a $300,000 decision, not a $15,000 decision and so we've already started investing in the city."

And as soon as they settle in here, the fans plan to invest as well. "So excited that we've finally got another team."

The Albany Panthers, Touching down in the Civic Center.

Chappell plans to bring more than football to the civic center. He hopes to bring in other entertainment options like concerts and partner with schools in the area for events.

The team has signed a five year contract with the city. If all goes well, they'll have an option to extend for another two years.

They'll also get the right to operate concessions for the first year and a half.

  • Click HERE to read about the Panthers plans
  • Click HERE to learn about the Southern Indoor Football League

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