Philadelphia sports fans have developed a reputation as some of the loudest, most intense, and yes, craziest fans in the world of sports. Just go to a Philadelphia Eagles or Phillies game and you will likely witness more than a few things that you wouldn't typically experience from another city's fans.
But Philadelphia Soul part-owner Cosmo DeNicola strives to bring the opposite to the Wells Fargo Center, the home of the Soul. Asked if Soul games have the same intensity as other Philadelphia sporting events, DeNicola responded, "Absolutely not. It's a fun, family, safe, healthy environment. Our friends do get excited and yell and cheer their team on but you really don't have any of that craziness that is associated with other sports around the country and in Philadelphia as well." DeNicola says that his goal as an owner is "to deliver a quality product to the fans and people that support our team and to create a nice safe fun environment for young people and their families."
That doesn't mean that DeNicola doesn't have a competitive drive, however. The founder of Amtech Software and the co-founder of InfoLogix Inc, DeNicola has been competing in the business world for decades. Owning a football team just goes hand in hand with his will to win. "The part that I love about owning a football team is that by nature I'm a very competitive individual and I compete in the business arena," DeNicola said. "Football is very similar to that with strategies and plans, things to that nature. I love the game. I love the young people that are involved with it. I love seeing the fans so excited. I love to compete and most importantly I love to win."
DeNicola's experience as an owner began in 2005 when he bought the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers Arena Football (AF2) team. The team enjoyed 57 victories over a four-year span, including two appearances in Arena Cup championship games, but the team disbanded after the 2009 season. "I just waited and joined the Soul when they came back out this year," DeNicola said. "I wouldn't say it's a dream come true because I didn't dream about it but I'm excited as heck to be involved."
DeNicola's personal goal as an owner begins and ends with building a championship football team. "As a team, the goal is always to win a title," DeNicola said. "If you don't have a plan and a goal of winning the title, you shouldn't be in the sports business."
Besides winning, DeNicola strives to give back to the Philadelphia community through his ownership with the Soul. "When you're part of a community, the fan base is obviously very important to you," DeNicola said. "You're important to them and you're a part of the fabric of their lives. When you're out on the field, you're competing not only for you and your teammates but also for the community as well. Giving back shows the appreciation and recognition that is all about community and family and not just about us. Sports are a great venue for leading the way from a philanthropic standpoint and setting an example in the community by doing good. The Soul have done tremendous good, whether it's been through our Soul moving experience which brings a lot of underprivileged children to their first professional sporting experience or partnering with Jon Bovi when he was one of the owners of the team and building homes in the area."
The Soul won their first Arena Bowl championship after the 2008 season. They disbanded for the next two seasons but rejoined the new Arena Football League for the 2011 season, during which DeNicola became one of the team's part-owners. The Soul are currently 5-7, with six games remaining to fight for their second division title.