Wendy and David Dworkin have the option of renaming the Rhinos when it returns to play in 2020. (Photo courtesy of Kick This!)
By Michael Lewis
In 2020, the Rochester Rhinos plan to have new stadium to call home somewhere in Monroe County playing in USL III.
With some new digs and a new start, the Rhinos have an opportunity to rebrand themselves, perhaps with a new logo or even with a new name.
David Dworkin, co-owner of the United Soccer League team with his wife Wendy, said Saturday that no decision has been made either way.
“The short answer is we don’t know,” he said on the Kick This! radio show Saturday before noting he and Wendy had the opportunity to do just that when they bought the team three years ago.
“We thought about the concept of rebranding, should we be Rochester something,” he said. “We don’t know what’s the right answer. As we move into the stadium redesign and [know] what we’re doing, perhaps that may crystalize itself a little more for us. But we probably have the most storied non-MLS franchise in existence. And if we’re the Rochester something-else, does that mean that we lose our history? I don’t know.”
It could be a slippery slope for the team, which won three A-League championships back in the way, plus the 1999 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup crown. The Rhinos are the last non-MLS side to win the national competition.
“I don’t know in the end if a total rebrand will resonate with fans or not, if it will offend the original supporters or we need a totally fresh start,” Wendy said. “I’m just hesitant with my family’s relationship with sports doing anything that will extinguish what those who have done before me in a positive way have accomplished.”
On Wednesday, the Dworkins announced they would be leaving as operators of Marina Auto Stadium by the end of the year and build they can call their own.
Wendy Dworkin said she agreed with recent comments from show host Soccer Sam Salvatore that what worked years ago doesn’t necessarily click in 2018.
“I agree with you whole heartedly that people need to move on from the past,” she said. “I’ve said in multiple interviews all industries and things change and evolve and soccer and sports is no different and we cannot keep on going back on what happened a decade or two ago. The world has changed, the business aspect of it has changed. We have to be current with today’s times.”