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New stadium key to New England’s future?

May 14, 2013, 8:33 AM EST

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If you were hoping for some encouraging news on the Revs’ search for a new soccer-specific stadium in the Boston area, then you might be waiting for a long time.

President Brian Bilello is as hopeful as the next man.

But after six years of unsuccessful negotiations to move away from Gillette Stadium, he revealed yesterday that the MLS side aren’t any closer to making a move to their own stadium.

“We’re still playing in a football stadium outside the city and we’re in the bottom third in terms of draw in the league. We’re in a difficult situation in terms of trying to get that done [build a new stadium],” Bilello said. “We’ve been at it for six years and I’m confident about it. When you’re working with municipalities and cities it’s hard for us to necessarily control a timeline. Once we get our stadium project off the ground, a lot changes.”

A lot should change. But when this move will happen is entirely up in the air, even after all these years.

Another big factor is the franchises play on the field. With New England already five points off the playoff hunt in the East, can they really draw big crowds week in, week out if the side are struggling? Bilello continued to chat in the in-depth interview with Boston.com.

“On the field, [it’s] a little disappointing,” Bilello said. “We’re hoping to be in a better position right now. When you look at where we are in the East, we want to be a little further up the board. We were very good for a long time. We have a job to do right now. We need to turn things around on the field.”

So, Bilello didn’t pull any punches with those comments but would the Revs’ really be viewed differently across the league if a new soccer-specific stadium was built? Maybe. In an anonymous survey last season, MLS players voted New England as having the worst-field and the worst ownership group.

The Kraft family have often had plenty of criticism thrown their way. Are they accountable for the problems the Revs’ are going through? It seems so. Yes, the franchise are actively working with several different municipalities and districts to try and find the correct area to build a new stadium.

But financially a big chunk of investment must be made available from the Kraft’s, to get this thing up and running.

They have done a lot for the league and the game of soccer in the US. But now all their attention must switch to their own club.

Like Bilello said, New England “were very good for a long time.” But if nothing is done about a new stadium soon, the opposite will be true.

  1. patriotsdefense - May 14, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    This article is silly and poorly done, IMO. Your main argument condensed is the Kraft family aren’t investing enough in the team. That is flawed assessment and is without merit.

    When the Revs moved up to take Andrew Farrell 1st overall, the compensation to move up from the 4th pick for the 1st pick was money. The Krafts put the funds up and improved the team immensely. Then this past week they obtain Juan Aguedlo. Again, money was the compensation. So the idea that the Kraft family aren’t invested in this soccer club is ridiculous and easily disproved.

    The article misses the main issue: It’s not Gillette Stadium so much as it is Patriots Place that is keeping the Revs stuck in place at Foxboro. The Kraft family built an the outdoor mall/entertainment hub/medical center/hotel right outside of Gillette. And then the recession hit and they had some problem attracting customers and tenants. The Revs being stuck in place in Foxboro helped Patriots Place grow and stay tenable. So removing that big draw, even with the bad attendance, would’ve been be a blow to Patriots Place. Especially with in the tempestuous last 5 years economically. With the improving economy Patriots Place is strong again and is stable. Hopefully the Revs can move now. May we all not forget the Krafts built Gillette, saved the Patriots, founded the Revs, built Patriots place and all with their own private money.

    I am perfectly fine giving them time to breath before they solve this issue for the Revs. They will get a Boston stadium as soon at the Kraft family feels comfortable with the status of their investments.

    • Joe Prince-Wright - May 15, 2013 at 4:59 AM

      I agree that the Kraft family have invested heavily not only in the Revs’ but in Major League Soccer and soccer in the US in general. Not to mention the NFL and numerous other projects you cited.

      Simply put, I would just like to see a new stadium become the main focus for New England and their owners. I think they deserve it as a franchise and so do the fans. I respect your opinion wholeheartedly, however do you think that if the Revolution have to wait another 8-10 years for a new stadium, that it won’t hurt them on and off the field?

      We can only guess what is going on behind the scenes, but from Bilello’s comments it seems as though they aren’t much closer to making any kind of announcement. I hope I’m wrong.

      Would love to hear what the general consensus is up in Foxboro.

    • rodmacneil - May 16, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      The compensation for acquiring the #1 pick (Farrell) and Agudelo, in both cases, was ALLOCATION money:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allocation_money

      It’s not cash. It’s not the Kraft’s money. This is important to understand when it comes to recognizing what the team is actually spending compared to other clubs.

      In short, this means the Krafts put up ZERO dollars for both moves you referenced. Allocation money is just an MLS accounting move that involves not a cent of money/investment from the team. It gives fans like you the illusion of commitment, when really they’re just accepting what has fallen in their laps. Don’t be fooled.

  2. Omar Ávalos Gallegos - May 14, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    New England and DC should have their own stadiums.

  3. pensfan603 - May 15, 2013 at 6:40 AM

    I completely disagree with this whole compensation pick argument, yes the Krafts spend money but they dont actually care about the team, they pay 400,000 dollars to bring in a central defender who is doing nothing, and another 100 to bring in a player at the same position and neither of them end up starting week one, As much as they spend the money alot of their financial decisions are flawed, and it shows a lackluster care for performance from the ownership group, plus the Kraft family said theyd rather stay in Gillette, personally i believe they would automatically draw bigger crowds if they moved up north, i think soccer is more prominent in southern mass and northern New Hampshire then it is in Connecticut.

  4. chadmoon1 - May 15, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    The club should play in Boston somewhere where it is easily accessible to mass transit. I went to Boston last summer and there was absolutely no imprint on the city by the Revs. I was there for 5 days and did not see one jersey, t-shirt, scarf, news coverage, nothing.

    The reason for this is simple: Foxboro is 40+ miles from Boston, and the trains don’t run there for Revs games. The trains do run for Patriots games. There’s your reason for bad attendance. Put the Revs in the city limits near a train stop, and you instantly have 15k or more a game.

  5. wallio - May 15, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    Don’t the Kraft’s own Gillette though? I can’t see them building a stadium if they have one already.

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