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The afterglow won’t last long.

The players on the best women’s soccer team in the world don’t know how they’re going to make a living. The fans have gone home. Rochester is still stuck with a stadium in a blighted neighborhood with an (unfounded?) reputation for being unsafe.

No has been able to figure out how to make women’s professional soccer work. The Western New York Flash had arguably the best soccer player in the world – Marta – right here in Rochester, but game attendance was a constant disappointment. The league has since suspended operations.

The glory days of soccer in Rochester have long past. The men’s team, the Rhinos, is not even on Major League Soccer’s radar anymore.

Soccer Town U.S.A.? Only when Abby’s here.

You can blame Sahlen’s Stadium’s location, the Rhinos’ previous ownership or fickle fans. But people do come out when there’s a big draw:

Here’s something that might work to draw more fans and improve the area surrounding Sahlen’s Stadium and Frontier Field. The city should create a stadium district. The two venues are a half mile apart, yet one is perceived as downtown and safe and the other is perceived as in the ‘hood.

The city should connect the stadiums with pathways, parks, shops, parking and other attractions to make it feel like one neighborhood. The Buffalo Sabres are building a massive hotel and ice rink complex right next to First Niagara arena. I’m not suggesting anything on that scale, but creative minds can surely come up with a way to link Rochester’s stadiums on the landscape.

Neither stadium has done much for its immediate surroundings. Frontier Field is surrounded by parking lots. Sahlen’s is surrounded by poverty and blight. Strategically thinking about how to maximize both assets could benefit sports, sports fans and the city.

Links of the Day:

– The management company of Frontier Field is under investigation for allegedly not paying prevailing wages. Some employees were required to do work on the owner’s cottage.

– The tanning industry is taking a page from Big Tobacco and fighting back.

– An Avon teenager got to dance in the dark with Bruce Springsteen!

– The last veteran of the War of 1812 died in 1905. He lived in Central New York and his death was a big deal.

Fantastic snapshots of Rochester Labor Days past.

7 Responses to When Abby’s Gone

  1. Great idea on the stadiums. I had not thought about that because of the contrasting neighborhoods, but I wish I did! There are signs that the city may have already begun planning a stadium district though.

  2. Other than the iconic Rocky’s Restaurant, there is nothing alluring about the three blocks of land between the two stadiums. No riverfront/waterfalls, nothing kid-friendly, little in the way of commerce. What you’re asking is for merchants and investors to make a leap of faith and plow money into the area in the hope of recouping it during 70 home baseball dates, a combined 25 soccer/lacrosse games, four weekends of H.S. football and maybe 10 other events per year.

    The only way to do it is with the government subsidies that could not keep High Falls viable. And that investment would likely come at the expense of some other district in the same fashion that Rochester bet all its chips on High Falls at the expense of East End bars and clubs. (con’t)

  3. (continued) We needed Frontier Field so that we had a presentable outdoor venue after Silver Stadium fell apart. On paper it looked as though we needed a soccer stadium, but we came to discover later that the big Rhinos crowds were a mirage created by heavily discounted and free tickets that presented the illusion of broader interest in that sport than actually existed.

    It turns out we quite possibly didn’t need the soccer stadium. And if it was going to get built, it needed to be in the suburbs. With expressway access from both Buffalo Road and Manitou, the Kodak Elmgrove property would have worked out just fine. The industrial park is slowly filling up with businesses and there’s a nice commercial strip in progress on Elmgrove Road.

  4. September 3, 2012 at 11:01 am Eduardo Ricardo responds:

    That should be a song,”Oh, When Abby’s Gone,….oh, …When Abby’s gone, She’s Gone to Oregon (lol)… When Abby’s gone, back to Oregon …this game. This game just ain’t the same”.

    Everybody now…

    Oh, When Abby’s Gone….oh..

  5. How about a story on the effects to the neighborhood of Silver Stadium closing? Where is the industrial park that was supposed to be built and provide jobs? All I remember being done there was converting the ticket office to a NET office which was, like all NET offices, useless. Google Maps shows it as green space i.e. undeveloped fields of grass. If there is an area of the city that could use industry it’s the former Silver Stadium area.
    And hopefully in the future we can eliminate the naming rights from the War Memorial and return it to what it was built to be, a memorial to our service members, not an ad for a so-called not for profit health care company.

  6. Pingback: Can Abby Impact Sahlen’s Stadium? » The Rochesterian

  7. Pingback: Trail Would Connect Stadiums » The Rochesterian

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