Rochester Rhinos to community: We need $1.3 million to keep going

The Rochester Rhinos need Rochester's help to save their 2018 season. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - The Rochester Rhinos need Rochester's help to save their 2018 season.

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Rhinos co-owners David and Wendy Dworkin announced they needed to raise $1.3 million by November 30, 2017.

The Dworkins cited challenges with "non-existent hotel tax revenue sharing, lagging sponsorships and season ticket sales" for the trouble with the team.

The $1.3 million would go toward jersey sponsorships, season tickets, suites and new corporate sponsorships. The team also said it needs a representative portion of Monroe County Hotel Room Occupancy Tax revenues. The Rhinos currently do not receive any money through those revenues.

The hotel tax generated $8.1 million in revenue for allocation in 2017, according to Rhinos officials. Monroe County gave the City of Rochester $1.7 million to distribute. That amount was divided between the Blue Cross Arena and the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Frontier Field received $500,000 from Monroe County’s portion of the revenue stream. Capelli Sport Stadium received none.

A spokesman for Monroe County issued a statement, saying the county supports the Red Wings through the hotel tax because the county owns and operates Frontier Field.

"Capelli Stadium is not owned and operated by Monroe County," the statement goes on to say. "Monroe County is not prepared to divert taxpayer dollars to the Rhinos that would otherwise be invested in regional tourism assets, including local arts, museums, and parks."

In addition, the team said it plans to generate $600,000 from executive suites and season ticket sales. This would be at least 2,500 new season ticket holders by that November 30 deadline.

"There are critical needs that must be met in the next two weeks," Wendy Dworkin said. "We are worried that some 400 full-time and part-time jobs could be lost if professional soccer doesn't survive."

More information about the team can be found here.

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