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Volume 25 No. 134

Facilities

The Revolution's practice facility setup is expected to be completed next year
Photo: REVOLUTION

The Revolution's progress has "often been stunted by their status as a secondary tenant at Gillette Stadium," but the club could be "taking steps to escape the shadow of the Patriots" thanks to breaking ground on a $35M training facility and the hope for a soccer-specific stadium in Boston, according to Frank Dell'Apa of the BOSTON GLOBE. A source said that the Kraft family, which owns the Revolution and Patriots, has invested more than $10M into "design renderings and other expenses related to stadium planning." Revolution Investor/Operator Jonathan Kraft said if it were up to him and his father, Robert Kraft, the "next groundbreaking would be this afternoon." The Krafts "would not comment" on proposed sites for a possible stadium. The Revolution's practice facility setup is "expected to be completed next year and could surpass the workout facilities of the Patriots." Plans are for a 42,000-square-foot building plus "three full-size training fields on 68 acres behind Gillette Stadium." Revolution President Brian Bilello said of the training facility, "This is not precluding us from doing something with a stadium; we are trying to pursue a stadium off-site. But the amount of land we have here gives us flexibility" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/16). Jonathan Kraft said, "Hopefully this is the first of two great ground-breakings," referencing a possible new stadium. Meanwhile, Revolution GM Mike Burns said the first phase "will be the building and the two grass fields." He noted if the weather cooperates, the fields "will be playable in May, and the players and the coaches and the staff will be able to move in in July." Bilello said that a "series of subtle changes in the design of the main building helped swell the cost" -- and that they "came about at the urging of the Krafts" (BOSTONSPORTSJOURNAL.com, 10/15).

RENEWED ENERGY: THE ATHLETIC's Jonathan Sigal noted there was a "tangible jolt" around the club yesterday, as the Revolution have been "mired in mediocrity, often facing criticism for not investing in players and facilities as others in MLS have done." Revolution coach Brad Friedel said this new facility represents an "incredible step forward for the club" (THEATHLETIC.com, 10/15). SOCCER AMERICA's Paul Kennedy noted the Revolution are MLS' "only founding member still without a soccer stadium" of their own. Six teams opened new practice facilities in '17 and '18, while the Revolution are "one of three teams with plans to open their new complex" in '19 (SOCCERAMERICA.com, 10/15). PRO SOCCER USA's Julian Cardillo wrote few doubt the Kraft family's "acumen as businesspeople and philanthropists," but the soccer-specific stadium issue "remains a sticking point for even the most ardent Revolution fans." The new training facility is "not a stadium, but it does appear to be a step in the right direction when it comes to attracting, retaining, and training new talent" (PROSOCCERUSA.com, 10/15).

Hoffman Estates, Ill., village officials said that they believe Sears' renewal of its naming-rights agreement for the Sears Centre Arena, which was approved last week, was "done in good faith, despite the company's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy" yesterday, according to Eric Peterson of the Chicago DAILY HERALD. Hoffman Estates-based Sears committed to "paying $600,000 per year" to keep the 11,000-seat, village-owned arena "under its original name through at least Aug. 31, 2022." The agreement "requires payment in full more than a year ahead of the period each $600,000 installment would cover," and likely "will be among the contracts Sears lists as its obligations in bankruptcy proceedings." Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod said that the bankruptcy "never came up during the renegotiation of the naming rights," adding that the Sears representatives assigned to the talks "likely weren't aware of the impending filing" (Chicago DAILY HERALD, 10/16).