Your Move Kraft Family: Part Three Of Three
Today I conclude my brief series on/in reaction to the recent article in Boston Magazine which suggested that, “The Krafts Are the Worst Owners in Major League Soccer.” In the first part I discussed the impact of the team playing at Gillette Stadium rather than in their own, purpose-built, soccer-specific stadium. In the second part I discussed how the Kraft family’s “thriftiness” has impacted the on-field performance of the club since the beginning of the “Designated Player Era” in 2007. Today, in part three, I’ll touch on some of the issues raised in the first two parts as well as some new ones as I discuss the impact that the Kraft’s ownership has had on the club’s supporters.
- As I said in Part One, Foxboro, MA- the location of Gillette Stadium- isn’t really near anything and unless one is driving from Boston to Providence or Providence to Boston, it’s not on the way to anything. The only public transportation is Amtrak’s Northeast Regional service, but the closest stop is in Westwood, 12 miles away. Not exactly convenient. In contrast, one can use the MBTA (Boston’s public transportation system) to get from South Station in downtown Boston to Gillette Stadium for every New England Patriot’s home game. In short, getting to a Revs’ match can be a chore.
- Just as big a problem is that Gillette Stadium is located in Foxboro, MA. Foxboro is a town of 17,000 and were it not for the stadium there would be absolutely no reason to go there if you didn’t live there- none. The point being that there’s no such thing as meeting up with your friends before/after the match as one might if the Revolution played in Boston, or at least a quick bus or train ride from the city center. This situation, of course, works well for the Krafts as it more or less forces people to meet at the stadium or somewhere in the retail monolith- Patriot Place– they have surrounded it with. Call me crazy, but outlet shopping, taking a few casts at the Bass Pro Shop, or getting a quick bite at “Toby Keith’s ‘I Love This Bar and Grill'” is not my idea of pre-match fun.
- Once you arrive at the stadium there is, with apologies to the supporter’s groups who sit in “The Fort” and try really hard, there is zero atmosphere at Revolution matches. Part of the problem is playing in a stadium meant to hold almost 70,000 people, which means that even if the Revolution draw a healthy crowd of say, 20,000, there are still 50,000(!) empty seats. Think about that for a moment… This problem is exacerbated by the fact that ownership- and the security company they employ for Revolution matches- still just “don’t get it” when it comes to soccer and soccer fans. There was a time not all that long ago when security refused to let fans- even in the designated “supporters section,” i.e. “The Fort,”- stand during matches. A final problem is that the Revolution are still stuck in the “fan friendly” stage that was typical in the early days of the league. There is far too much going on that is not the match itself, and kids and the parents who bring them don’t chant or even pay much attention to the action on the field. It’s not that there shouldn’t be kids or casual fans at matches, it’s that in the Revolution’s case they still seem to be the largest group. For all of my misgivings about posing Seattle (and to a lesser extent, Portland) supporters, the Revolution could use a little more of that.
- Finally, and this is something I’ve had personal experience with, the Gillette Stadium staff on a Revolution match day isn’t exactly the organizations “A Team” (insert your own joke here). Let me give you a couple of examples… First, I arrived at one match to find that the seat associated with my ticket was broken to the point of being unusable. I took the issue to the closest usher and was given two options: You can sit in any empty seat and just move if the person with a ticket for that seat shows up- just what I want to do, spend the whole match changing seats- or I could move back to the rows of empty seats. The empty seats were 20-25 rows behind mine which were, I knew for a fact, literally “cheaper” seats. I eventually got a free ticket to an upcoming match when I brought the issue to the club’s knowledge via email, but that didn’t help much on match day. Second, early last season I attended a match with KCGunner and sat with him in the away supporter’s section. In order to do that, however, we had to chip away ice that had formed all over the section and to move the kicking net (that is raised between the goalposts during Patriot’s games) off of our seats. Sure, I understand “sticking it” to the away support by giving them crummy seats, but this went a little too far.
And yet I continue to support this team, which gives me a little insight into how the Krafts are able to get away with being the worst owners in Major League Soccer- Revolution fans have no other option if they want to see MLS matches and the Krafts know it. I’d like to think they were better than that, but I’m naive that way…