Sahlen's Stadium, formerly PAETEC Park and Marina Auto Stadium, is a soccer-specific stadium in Rochester, New York, USA. It is home to the Rochester Rhinos soccer team of the USL Pro league and the Western New York Flash of Women's Professional Soccer. It is also home of the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) professional men's field lacrosse team Rochester Rattlers. The stadium also hosts other sporting events such as collegiate soccer, Doug Miller Rochester Rhino Academy games, American football, field hockey and drum and bugle corps competitions as well as concerts.History
The stadium was designed by HOK Sport (now Populous). It was constructed on a filled-in section of the Erie Canal's original routing through Rochester. This was also once the route of the Rochester Subway, which was built in the old canal bed and ended operations in 1956. PAETEC Park was funded jointly by the state of New York, the city of Rochester, and the Rhinos (the State of New York paying $23 million while the Rhinos and the city will pay the remaining amount). Infrastructure improvements will be paid for by the city of Rochester.
The park hit some minor stumbling blocks even before the first shovel hit dirt: the original designs needed to be revised when it was revealed that the playing field was below the water table, and the environmental impact report revealed that the site had pockets of petroleum that needed to be treated. Notwithstanding these roadblocks, ground was broken on July 9, 2004, and Phase One of the construction was completed. The stadium had its grand opening (as PAETEC Park) on June 3, 2006, which featured the Rhinos' first home game of the season. The game was played in front of a capacity crowd of 13,768 fans and ended in a 2–2 draw against the Virginia Beach Mariners.Naming rights
Naming rights to the park were purchased by PAETEC Communications, a local telecommunications company, in 2004 for a reported total of $12.8 million over 22 years. Due to delays in construction, however, the amount had been reduced to $2.1 million over 12 years. When the previous owners of the Rhinos were forced to give up the team in early 2008, the agreement was voided. PAETEC then signed a new 1-year agreement with new owner Rob Clark's firm, the Adirondack Sports Club.
On December 11, 2008, it was announced that PAETEC would not renew their naming rights agreement when the contract expired in April 2009. The stadium then became known as Rochester Rhinos Stadium. In mid-2009, the team had a raffle to determine the naming rights for the stadium. For each $1,000 an individual, group, company, or other entity paid to the Rhinos, they would be given one chance to win the right to name the stadium. On May 30, 2009, the night of the Rhinos' 2009 home opener, Marina Auto Group, a Webster-based automobile dealership group, won the raffle.
The Marina Auto name was retained through 2010 under a traditional naming rights agreement.
On February 10, 2011, it was announced that the new name of the stadium would be Sahlen's Stadium after the deal with Marina Auto expired. This was part of a ten-year naming rights agreement with Sahlen's Packing Company, Inc. of Buffalo, NY. The cost of the agreement was not released, but is estimated at about $2 million.Events
The Rochester Rhinos and Rochester Rhinos Women soccer teams of the USL First Division and USL W-League, respectively, and the Rochester Rattlers of Major League Lacrosse moved to the facility in 2006. The Rattlers were dissolved following the 2008 MLL season, but returned for the 2011 MLL season. The Rochester Rhinos Women dissolved and were replaced by the Rochester Ravens in 2009.
PAETEC Park hosted Major League Lacrosse championship weekend in 2007.
On June 5, 2010, the stadium was the site of the first outdoor game in Indoor Football League history as the Rochester Raiders faced off against the Chicago Slaughter with the Raiders triumphing 43-36.
The Drum Corps Associates drum corps championships have been held at PAETEC every Labor Day weekend since 2006.
The Kickball League of Rochester (KLOR) was the first organized kickball league to hold regular season games in the stadium over the summer of 2009. The facility was also utilized to hold the playoff and championship games for that summer's Tuesday and Thursday night leagues.
The National Amateur Kickball Community of America (NACKA) now plays kickball there regularly, in Spring, Summer and Fall leagues. Championship games are played on the field at the end of each season.
On September 18, 2010 Courage Bowl VI was held at Marina Auto Stadium. The Courage Bowl is the annual football game between the St. John Fisher College Cardinals and the University of Rochester Yellowjackets.