JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Arena Football League and the 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks announced the team's 2013 schedule on Tuesday. Jacksonville will begin the 2013 season on the road against the Tampa Bay Storm, with the Sharks' home opener set for Friday, April 12 against the New Orleans VooDoo.
The season opener against Tampa Bay is part of a three-game, in-conference road trip that starts Jacksonville's 2013 slate. After traveling to Tampa, the Sharks will play road games against the Pittsburgh Power and Cleveland Gladiators before two straight home contests on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
One benefit to this early road trip is that the Sharks will play a large proportion of late-season games in front of the team's home crowd. Four of Jacksonville's last five games will be played in the Shark Tank.
Aaron Garcia, who quarterbacked the Sharks to ArenaBowl XXIV in 2011, will make his return to Sea Best Field as a member of the San Jose SaberCats on May 18. This will also be the first time that the SaberCats have played a game in Jacksonville.
In addition to home-and-home series against the division rival Storm, Orlando Predators and New Orleans VooDoo, the Sharks will play two games against each of the Philadelphia Soul, Cleveland Gladiators, Pittsburgh Power and Spokane Shock. The June 8 visit to Spokane will mark the Sharks' first trip to that city since playing a road game against the Shock during Jacksonville's inaugural 2010 season.
The Sharks will play against each of the participants in ArenaBowl XXV, as the defending champion Arizona Rattlers make their way to Sea Best Field on May 4. This will mark the first meeting between the Sharks and Rattlers since Jacksonville's 73-70 victory in ArenaBowl XXIV. It will also be the first time that Arizona has played a game in Jacksonville since 2010.
Other highlights of the schedule include the Sharks' first trip to Utah since 2010 and a game in the Superdome in New Orleans. The Sharks' road game against the New Orleans VooDoo falls on July 20, and the VooDoo previously announced that each of their final six home games will be played in the Superdome due to planned renovations to New Orleans Arena.
Jacksonville will finish the regular season at home for the third time in four seasons, as the team will host the Storm on July 27. This marks the first time that the Sharks will both open and close the regular season against the same team.
Jacksonville's full 18-game schedule is listed below, though dates and times are subject to change. All times listed are Eastern.
Jacksonville Sharks 2013 Schedule
Week 1: at Tampa Bay (Saturday, March 23, 7:30 p.m.)
Week 2: at Pittsburgh (Friday, March 29, 7:00 p.m.)
Week 3: at Cleveland (Saturday, April 6, 7:00 p.m.)
Week 4: vs. New Orleans (Friday, April 12, 8:00 p.m.)
Week 5: vs. Iowa (Friday, April 19, 8:00 p.m.)
Week 6: at Philadelphia (Saturday, April 27, 7:05 p.m.)
Week 7: vs. Arizona (Saturday, May 4, 7:00 p.m.)
Week 8: at San Antonio (Saturday, May 11, 8:30 p.m.)
Week 9: vs. San Jose (Saturday, May 18, 7:00 p.m.)
Week 10: at Orlando (Saturday, May 25, 7:30 p.m.)
Week 11: vs. Pittsburgh (Saturday, June 1, 7:00 p.m.)
Week 12: at Spokane (Saturday, June 8, 10:00 p.m.)
Week 13: at Utah (Saturday, June 15, 9:00 p.m.)
Week 14: vs. Cleveland (Saturday, June 22, 7:00 p.m.)
Week 15: vs. Orlando (Saturday, June 29, 7:00 p.m.)
Week 16: Bye
Week 17: vs. Spokane (Saturday, July 13, 7:00 p.m.)
Week 18: at New Orleans (Saturday, July 20, 8:00 p.m.)
Week 19: vs. Tampa Bay (Saturday, July 27, 7:00 p.m.)
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