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Sahlen's Stadium


It’s great news Abby Wambach is coming home to Rochester to play for the Western New York Flash. It’s great for Wambach, the team, the league, fans and the city.

The news should also be good for Saheln’s Stadium. The city-owned facility, managed by the Rochester Rhinos, has struggled to be profitable. Wambach is a proven draw when she plays there, attracting sell-out crowds.

Will it be great for the neighborhood surrounding the stadium to have the world’s best female soccer player in its midst? The stadium continues to be criticized for its location in a poor neighborhood peppered with vacant lots and industry. The area has never seen the kind of outside investment once predicted. Although the Flash will likely play fewer than 10 home games a year at Sahlen’s, could that be enough to get the ball rolling on improvements?

stadium mapsI’ve long felt the city should create a stadium district. I wrote this back in September as part of a post predicting soccer fever would die when Abby left town:

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.

Now that she’ll be sticking around, maybe it’s time to reclaim our title of Soccer Town USA and prove we deserve it.

Links of the Day:

– People in Syracuse are starting to recognize giant subsidies for malls hurt the little guy.

– Must be nice to work for the Assembly. Staffers got aggregate raises of 10 percent.

– A study suggest pay-TV, such as cable and satellite, peaked in 2011.

– A grandfather writes an open letter to the newspaper to person who thought he was a pedophile at the park. It’s the third letter down.

7 Responses to Can Abby Impact Sahlen’s Stadium?

  1. Stadiums don’t really spur economic development. I cant run a business on people who come to the area 10 times a year, even the Red Wings with their many games are only a seasonal draw. The other issue is that the city never.really invested money into the neighborhood. Sure they knocked down a bunch of houses, but vacant lots in an urban area signal blight just as much as a run down house. There’s been no real investment in bettering that area of broad st. or making it attractive for people to live/open a business. I don’t even think I’d want to live that close to the stadiums, sure itd be easy to go to games. But is have to deal with the congestion and people taking up on street parking on game nights.

  2. My thoughts….Abby will be very entertaining and I would hope more parents will bring their young soccer players to watch a legend in person. This should help attendance. As for an impact on the stadium or neighborhood, I don’t see any. I would ve very surprised if the majority of people in the neighborhood either know who Abby is or even care. The choice for this location was another example of the idiots that call themselves leaders of the community.

  3. Good luck to her and everyone but what are we doing depending on sports and gambling to build an economy?

  4. Having Abby assigned to the Flash is a win. Alas, it’s also short-term. She has three years left in her international career, and she’ll be away from the Flash for an extended period in the last two (’15 World Cup, ’16 Olympics).

    The USSF has shown only minimal ability to operate viable men’s leagues (MLS is marginal, the lower divisions are a disaster). Do they really have the brains, commitment to succeed where 2 other women’s leagues failed?

  5. January 14, 2013 at 1:59 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    The Flash may sell out all of their games in which Abby is playing, the tickets snapped up by the season ticket holders and flex pack ticket holders. Hopefully, Time-Warner Sports Channel (TWSN) will carry such games if this happens, and could be a boon for restaurants and bars with local cable, for those local fans without T-W. An alternative for those who can’t see the Flash games because of this would be the women’s soccer games of the Rochester District Soccer League and maybe also the amateur Rochester Ravens will be back as well.

  6. Pingback: Stadium Neighborhood Could Get Boost » The Rochesterian

  7. Pingback: Soccer Town Sometimes » The Rochesterian

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