the tanner ba'

Do You Believe Jonathan Kraft?

New England Revolution co-owner Jonathan Kraft.

New England Revolution co-owner Jonathan Kraft.

I’m at a bit of a loss.

On the one hand, as of late the New England Revolution are clearly making all of the right moves on the field and they seem to be making all of the right moves off the field.  They have an arrangement with Rochester Rhinos to develop players, they have finally signed a “strategic partnership” with a foreign club that will appeal to New England’s large lusophone community (Sporting Clube de Portugal), and they have signed their first, really, designated player in Jermaine Jones.  And yet, there is still an elephant in the room…a stadium-sized elephant.

The subject of the Revolution’s never-ending search for a soccer-specific stadium in Boston or its immediate vicinity came up again this week when Revolution co-owner Jonathan Kraft appeared as a guest on Boston sports radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub.  Kraft stated that the club remained committed to a soccer-specific stadium “in Boston or the immediate surrounding area” and in a “city with public transportation.”  Kraft also suggested that current Boston mayor Marty Walsh may be more sympathetic to a stadium in the city than the recently-deceased former mayor Thomas Menino.

Kraft then reverted to his family’s party line when it comes to this subject- that they’re quietly working on it and won’t say any more about it until they have “something” to report.  Yes, well, Revolution supporters have been listening to this same line of talk for almost a decade and the club is no closer to moving into a new home than they were when it was founded in 1996.  If I may briefly recap the situation- one I have discussed at length in the past.

  • 2006:  MLS announced that the Revolution were hoping to build a new stadium and that “feelers” had been sent out to a number of towns to gauge interest and feasibility.  Then… nothing.
  • 2007:  It was reported that the club and the City of Somerville had held preliminary talks about a stadium.  Then… nothing.
  • 2010:  First, talks are reported to have resumed with officials in Somerville and second, the Revolution were said to be studying three more sites in metro Boston. The time scale for decision making was described as being in “a few months.”  According to the club they were “pressing the issue” as it was a “top priority of the organization.”  Then…nothing.
  • 2012:  The club announced that they were in talks with the cities of East Boston and Revere about the possibility of building a stadium on the site of the now defunct Wonderland dog track and Suffolk Downs horse track, just four miles north of Downtown Boston.  Then…nothing.

So, you’ll forgive me if I’m a bit skeptical.  I’m impressed by the steps that the club has taken to improve itself on the field and I think there is no better way to sell to a city where you want to build a stadium than a winning team (a championship team?!), but we’ve heard all of this before- over and over again.  Unfortunately, that’s no the problem as I see it.  The problem is that the Kraft family finds themselves with a paradox that they have no intention of solving or escaping from.  The paradox is this:

The only way the Revolution will get a new stadium is if they can make more money for the Kraft family playing in one than they do playing in Gillette Stadium, but the only way they will make more money for the Kraft family is if they play in a new stadium.

I applaud the Kraft family for everything they’ve done for the club (and the league) in the past and I applaud them for the positive and concrete steps they have made recently (mentioned above) to improve the club on the field (and likely off it as well), but I remain convinced that for as long as the Kraft family owns the New England Revolution the club will not have a soccer-specific stadium.


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