Rhinos owners, city reach deal on Capelli Sport Stadium lease

(WHAM Photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - The owners of the Rochester Rhinos have reached a deal with the City of Rochester as of Thursday morning.

Wendy and David Dworkin, the team owners, will continue to operate Capelli Sport Stadium through September 1.

The deal, which the city stipulates will be made once, requires the Dworkins to field a soccer team in 2019 or the lease will be terminated. Confirmation that they will participate in the United Soccer League must be provided in writing to the city.

Wendy and David Dworkin said they’re glad this dispute is over, even though it’s not perfect.

“We have to work within the confines of that, and to the extent that we’re able to do it, then it’s a success for the community - and if it’s not, certainly it's not for the lack of trying,” said co-owner David Dworkin

In addition, the city will receive a percentage of alcohol sales to reimburse taxpayers.

“Our primary goal has been and continues to be to protect the taxpayers and their $600,000 investment in the stadium,” Mayor Warren said. “The Dworkins will pay their full rent, and also pay the City an additional $40,000 along with a surcharge on adult beverage sales to ease the burden on taxpayers, and a portion of the proceeds if they decide to sell the team.”

“Our goal remains to try and keep soccer here, but at the end of the day, we can only do so much,” said Dworkin.

Dworkin said they’re now focusing on raising money to field a team for the 2019 season. However, they say the future of the team is still uncertain.

"Now the question will be, what will the next month or so bring, now that this over, and where are the companies?" said Dworkin. "Have companies taken their budgets for 2018 and said, 'You know what? I don't know what's going to happen with the Rhinos; we're going to allocate our dollars elsewhere.' We’ve already had one company tell us that.”

The addendum will allow all previously scheduled events at the stadium to move forward, as well.

In a statement released by the Dworkins Thursday morning, the couple praised the agreement.

David & Wendy Dworkin are pleased to announce that an agreement has been executed, which will avoid protracted litigation.
Unfortunately, efforts over the last two months spent on this issue resulted in a diversion of significant time and resources from our primary goal: using a one-year hiatus to work diligently with supporters and the business community to solidify a foundation for sustained success. Now we can shift our focus back to keeping professional soccer in our region, as well as providing a wide array of events at Capelli Sport Stadium this season.
The Rochester Rhinos organization appreciate the support received during this time from fans and the community as a whole, including companies who have already committed to support us in 2018 and beyond.
Toronto FC II single game and season tickets — as well suites rentals — will go on sale early next week. We encourage the entire region to support soccer, and look forward to partnering with friends and fans as we move forward.
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