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By Rochester Rhinos , 11/30/17, 3:30PM EST


Current Challenges, 2018 Season, 2019 & Beyond

Current Challenges

Did the Rhinos receive any significant support during the final two weeks of November? We were appreciative of current and new sponsors and season ticket buyers who stepped forward, as well as from others across the community. Unfortunately, the level of support needed to play in 2018 did not materialize.

How close were the Rhinos to playing next year? There was still a significant gap between corporate support, season ticket sales and our goals, which made play in 2018 unrealistic because of our deadline to re-sign players.

Why did the team wait until mid- November to announce its challenges? The Rhinos staff has been working hard behind the scenes since 2016 on these challenges, allowing players to remain focused on the season. We made our public announcement as soon as we could, once the 2017 Rhinos season came to a close.

What is the status of hotel tax re-allocation, providing a fair portion to Capelli Sport Stadium? Officials from Monroe County and the City of Rochester have made some initial remarks regarding if allocations should be reviewed, but it’s too early to say anything definitive. We encourage them to act in the best interests of the region.

Is the City of Rochester’s lawsuit with the Rhinos’ former owner a consideration that factored into this decision? That is a matter between the City – which owns Capelli Sport Stadium – and the Rhinos’ former owner. Obviously, we would expect that the Stadium would include typical equipment. 

2018 Season

Is there any chance the Rhinos will field a team in 2018? We cannot envision that happening, since players needed to be re-signed or released by November 30, 2017.

Will the Rhinos play in another city in 2018? We have not had any discussions with others cities regarding playing in 2018.

Have the Rhinos ceased to exist? The Rhinos organization remains, but will not field a team for the 2018 USL season. The organization remains in good standing with the USL, and will consider how to move forward over the coming months.

Will my 2018 season ticket purchase be refunded? When?
Yes, all 2018 season ticket purchases will be refunded beginning December 5th, with funds returned via the same payment method (e.g., credit card).   Any fans who would prefer to have their payment credited towards 2018 USL matches at Capelli Sport Stadium may contact the box office directly prior to December 5th. 

What will happen with sponsors who had committed to the 2018 season? We deeply thank them for their support, and plan to include them in our conversation regarding how the club moves forward.

What will happen to Capelli Sport Stadium? The Stadium – which is owned by the City of Rochester – remains under lease to Rochester Stadium Operations. It is expected to host professional soccer matches in 2018, as well as be used for other events.

Will the Junior Rhinos continue to play? Yes, they will continue to compete.

What will happen to Rhinos employees and those whose jobs are dependent on games at the stadium? By hosting USL matches, we will be able retain some positions, but will need to reduce staff. 

What type of professional soccer will be brought into Capelli Sport Stadium during 2018? When will you have dates and other details? Capelli Sport Stadium will still host USL regular-season contests during 2018, with the dates and matchups to be announced in concurrence with the release of the 2018 USL schedule. 

2019 Season & Beyond

When will a decision be made to play in 2019? We are assessing what’s needed to play in 2019, and expect that process to take considerable time.

What will be required to field a team in 2019? Any professional sports franchise is dependent on a mix of revenue sources, including corporate sponsorships, ticket sales and more. Whether or not we field a team in 2019 will depend on those factors, and the desire of the community to support one of the country’s most storied professional soccer clubs.

Could the Rhinos move to a new city in 2019? While that is not our intent, we cannot rule that out. The Rhinos are one of the most respected and storied professional soccer franchises in the United States, and multiple cities are eager to establish their own teams.

Would community ownership solve the challenge that is currently facing the Rhinos? Regardless of ownership, the club still needs a mix of revenue sources to meet its obligations and operate responsibly. Community ownership may create even further challenges, since it would be absolutely essential to break even or be profitable.