ALBANY — Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital has been involved with the Albany Panthers arena league football team since its inception in 2010.
But Tuesday, the local Albany hospital turned its support up a notch.
The 2011 champion Panthers and Phoebe announced a partnership for the naming rights to the team’s home field at the James H. Gray Albany Civic Center, which will now be called “Phoebe Field,” starting this season “and for years to come,” said Albany GM Will Carter.
WHO: Richmond Raiders at Albany Panthers.
WHAT: 2012 season and home opener for the Panthers.
WHEN: March 17, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Civic Center.
“Phoebe has been a partner since the beginning, and this is just an extension of that partnership. Having them be the (namesake) for our home field is something we’ve talked about before,” said Carter, whose team will open the season March 17 at home against the Richmond Raiders. “But I think now that we’ve won a league title, gotten a five-year extension from the city (of Albany) and shown to be a credible part of the community the past two years — adding youth indoor football and youth cheer and dance teams — they saw what a positive influence our franchise is. And with them being committed to Albany and us being equally committed to Albany, the partnership just made sense.”
Joe Austin, Chief Operating Officer at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, agreed.
“Having the Phoebe name on the field signifies our good neighbor philosophy,” Austin said. “The Panthers represent our community here and on the road. They are an important attraction for those of us who live here and for bringing visitors to our city with good wholesome fun and sports. We wish them a successful season.”
Carter declined to discuss the monetary specifics of the contract, but did say “it’s a multi-year deal that we’re very proud of” and added that the Panthers and Phoebe plan to work on a way to get Phoebe — and the services the hospital offers — visible at home games.
“Nothing is concrete as to what will be offered yet, but you’re reading my mind (by asking) about doing something like health screenings at home games and things like that,” Carter said. “This was a great opportunity for the Panthers to create a unique platform with a partner that also has a deep commitment to the Albany community.”