The New York Empire is a New York City-based American Ultimate Disc League ultimate team. The team, which competes in the league’s East Division, won its first AUDL championship in 2019 and its second in 2022. In 2013, The Empire debuted its first season.
History of New York Empire Basketball Academy
Due to an ongoing AUDL litigation against the Connecticut Constitution and Rhode Island Rampage, part-owner Cullen Shaw nearly transferred his Ultimate ownership interest to Major League Ultimate at the start of the Empire’s existence in late 2012. Shaw remained with the AUDL and the Empire, nevertheless, due to reduced ownership costs and more club ownership capabilities. The Empire’s initial tryout in January 2013 drew 60 players, which was a higher turnout than other teams’ inaugural tryouts. When Isaac Saul joined the Empire in 2014 after the Rumble season that same year ended, the Empire became the first AUDL team to have a player play for a AUDL and MLU squad in the same year. The MLU eventually established a New York franchise, the New York Rumble.
Barbara Stevens, the mother of then-Empire player Matthew Stevens, took over as the team‘s majority owner following the 2017 campaign. Before the 2018–19 campaign, the Empire signed Marques Brownlee and Beau Kittredge, and before the 2019–20 campaign, the Empire signed Grant Lindsley and Jack Williams. Some have referred to this club as the league’s strongest since the Dallas Roughnecks iteration of 2016 thanks to these signings and the league’s current talent, including Jeff Babbitt and Ben Jagt. Following close calls with Raleigh and DC, the Empire went on to go 12-0 in the regular season and 3-0 in the postseason en route to winning the 2019 championship and becoming just the third team in league history to go unbeaten in a season.
Previously, the Empire had part of its home games on Randall’s Island and some at MCU Park in the Brooklyn borough. The Empire relocated to Joseph F. Fosina Field in New Rochelle before the 2018 season, claiming a dearth of dressing rooms and refreshments on Randall’s Island as well as a better location near major highways.