SoccerSam Fantauzzo: “It’s just not going work in a 3,000 or less arena like the Dome Arena. The numbers just don’t work.” (Photo courtesy of the Rochester Lancers)
By Michael Lewis
SoccerSam Fantauzzo Monday night gave a little more insight as to why he has decided to sell the indoor Rochester Lancers.
It will be difficult to keep up with the rest of the league because the team can’t play in a larger facility, Fantauzzo said on the Soccer is a Kick in the Grass radio show.
The new big three of the Major Arena Soccer League – chairman Shep Messing, commissioner Keith Tozer and president of communications media JP Dellacamera – have some big plans, he added.
“They’re going to bring in some big-time owners,” Fantauzzo told co-hosts Andrew Battisti and Joe Sirianni. “So, for us to be a competitive team, it’s just not going work in a 3,000 or less arena like the Dome Arena. The numbers just don’t work.
“I can’t play at the Blue Cross Arena. Obviously the Amerks own the building. They don’t want any other outside sports tenants. I’ve reached out to them about possibly buying the team because that the only time they’ve allowed a sports tenant in the building, they owned it. They lived with the Nighthawks and allowed them to play there. I was hoping that that would come through. They’re not interested anymore.”
The Rochester Amerks compete in the American Soccer League. The Rochester Nighthawks perform in the National Lacrosse League.
The Lancers played the 2018-19 M2 and the MASL 2019-20 season at the Dome Arena in suburban Henrietta, N.Y. They called the downtown Blue Cross Arena home for their first four indoor seasons before workman’s compensation issues forced the team to go dormant for three years.
“So, I’m telling anybody that is interested, it’s just not going to work here because the Dome, the numbers just don’t work if you if your player payroll is what it needs to be, and you travel is where it needs to be,” Fantauzzo said. “You just can’t make the numbers work with a building that small.”
Fantauzzo said he has talked to prospective owners in two Florida cities. Others in Iowa and Chicago are interested as well.
“Nothing’s for sure yet,” he added. “The league is going to make a decision in August and what they want to do with the rights to my team.”
One possibility is Elmira, N.Y., which is located south of Seneca Lake. Mammoth Sports & Entertainment, LLC. president Steve Donner, who is bringing a Federal Hockey League team to First Arena.
“I’m kind of hoping for that because it’s close enough where we can still go and enjoy a game maybe it’s an hour and a half away,” Fantauzzo said. “So that’s where I’m at right now. It’s all premature, but I think the team will probably move. We’ll know by August [about] … the MASL, and M2, probably know a little sooner. That could be as early as next week.”
FrontRowSoccer.com editor Michael Lewis has written a new book, ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. You can learn more about it or purchase it here: