The Soul’s future, along with the rest of the Arena Football League’s, appears to be in serious jeopardy.
According to a report from the Albany Times Union, all five of the league’s franchises are suspending local business operations and the league itself is determining whether to suspend operations completely.
Players, coaches and front-office staff were informed of the league’s decision on Tuesday, according to the report.
Soul owner Ron Jaworski was not available to comment on the report.
“We haven’t made a decision on whether to completely suspend operations,” Randall Boe, the league’s commissioner since 2018, told the Times Union. “That’s a decision that will probably be made in the next several weeks. We do know, under any set of circumstances, we will not be continuing to operate business operation units in our local markets. We will be closing those business operations in our local markets, including Albany.”
This isn’t the first time the AFL has run into financial trouble, having previously suspended operations in 2009.
The Soul, who began play in 2004 under majority owners Jon Bon Jovi and Craig Spencer and minority owners Richie Sambora, Leo Carlin Jr. and Jaworski, have won the league’s ArenaBowl championship three times (2008, 2016, and 2017). They went 7-5 in the 2019 season and reached the ArenaBowl again, losing, 45-27, to the Albany Empire at the Wells Fargo Center on Aug. 11.
Bon Jovi left the Soul to form another ownership group in pursuit of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills after the league suspended operations in 2009. Jaworski, the former Eagles quarterback and a fan favorite, emerged as the face of the Soul’s ownership when play resumed in 2011.
The AFL, which began in 1987, expanded from four to six teams this past year, with franchises also based in Albany, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Columbus, and Washington.
In what might have been a show of how sudden the league’s call was, the Soul posted a tweet at 10:25 Tuesday morning advertising season-ticket sales.