SBD/Issue 211/Facilities & Venues

Revolution Back In Talks About New Stadium Outside Boston

Revolution, Robert Kraft Refocusing On Idea
Of New Soccer Stadium In Somerville, Mass.

Somerville, Mass., officials are in talks to remake the Inner Belt area "into a thriving hub of housing, offices, shops, and, potentially, a sparkling new stadium" for the MLS Revolution, according to Eric Moskowitz of the BOSTON GLOBE. Revolution Owner Robert Kraft and his Kraft Sports Group "believe a new stadium here would raise the team’s profile by relocating from Gillette Stadium, the cavernous Foxborough home the team currently shares" with the Patriots. A Somerville stadium "would put the team within easy reach of neighborhoods packed with immigrants from soccer-obsessed countries, young urbanites looking for accessible entertainment, and suburban soccer families." Kraft first "floated the idea several years ago, but it had been on hold because of uncertainty over the Inner Belt." However, city and Massachusetts state officials in May agreed to put an MBTA commuter rail facility "not in the middle of the Inner Belt but along its eastern edge," and that has allowed the Kraft Group to "refocus on the area as a potential site for a roughly 20,000-seat facility." Revolution COO Brian Bilello on the team's blog recently noted that the Krafts have invested more than $1M "already to explore that site and three others around Boston." Bilello added, "During the next few months our architects and engineers will be studying the area to determine if it is possible to build a soccer stadium." He said building a stadium for the Revolution is a "top priority" for the Krafts, the team and MLS. Moskowitz noted the Revolution this season are averaging fewer than 12,000 fans per game at Gillette, which is in a "challenging location, nearly 30 miles from downtown Boston, for a soccer club trying to establish a steady fan base" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/18).

DESIGNATED FOR ASSIGNMENT? In Boston, Frank Dell'Apa reported the Revolution are "working on signings" after Thierry Henry joined the Red Bulls last week, "but will not likely go for a high-profile performer." Revolution VP/Player Personnel Michael Burns said, "We’ve been pretty consistent in what we’ve said in terms of a designated player. Since the (DP) was established, we said he would have to do something on the competitive side and also on the other side, as well, as far as marketability, ticket sales, to be a draw in the Boston area." Dell'Apa wonders if the Revolution, who have never signed a DP, are "feeling pressured to match other MLS teams in the marquee player sweepstakes." Burns said, "I don’t look at it like that. We are trying to bring in players, whether designated players or not. We want guys who will help the team, and we are not so caught up in does it have to be a DP or not" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/17).

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