Robert Kraft, principal owner of the New England Revolution soccer franchise (and a little, old pro football team as well), wants to build a 20,000- to 25,000-seat soccer stadium at the old Bayside Expo Center in the Dorchester-South Boston borderlands. Plans are in exceptional flux right now, with the University of Massachusetts, the center’s current owner, and Kraft in discussions, but with nothing decided.
Despite legitimate concerns over traffic and the general no-man’s-land that stadia tend to create in urban areas, the proposal does have a few things breaking in its favor:
- Boston Mayor Marty Walsh supports a pro-soccer stadium in the city. "Mayor Walsh has always been interested in exploring the possibility of a stadium in Boston and he is open to having a conversation about it," according to a statement from Hizzoner.
- UMass needs the money and possibly the soccer team itself. Per the Globe: "A stadium would offer UMass a source of revenue at a time when the university system has nearly reached the limit in its ability to borrow money for major expansions. UMass Boston is also developing a sports management program, which could benefit from access to a professional team."
- Soccer is increasingly popular in the States. Again, the Globe: "Major League Soccer has been moving to ‘soccer specific’ arenas as the sport grows more popular, and the Revolution is one of a handful of soccer teams in the country that do not have their own stadiums."
- Finally, have we mentioned it’s Robert Kraft? The Patriots owner has longstanding ties with UMass and the sort of civic heft that, say, the backers of bringing the 2024 Games lacked. He also no longer wants his Revolution playing in Gillette, where huge sections of the 67,000-seat arena have to be blocked off.
- In Latest Push, Kraft Eyes Soccer Stadium in Dorchester [Globe]
- Robert Kraft's Goal: Bayside Site for Stadium [Herald]
- New England's Pro Football Stadiums Before Gillette: a Gallery [Curbed Boston]