The efforts to bring a soccer stadium to Boston have long been a source of frustration for New England Revolution fans, so the recent comments by Jorge Mas, the majority owner of Miami’s forthcoming MLS expansion team, may have been cause for surprise.
“One of the only franchises left to build a soccer-specific stadium is the New England Revolution, which is owned by Bob Kraft of the New England Patriots,” Mas, who also owns the Miami Marlins, said during a meeting Monday night with the Miami Herald.
“They’re building a facility, I think, right near or next to Boston Garden,” the billionaire added. “So they’re in.”
— Gene Anderson (@YahMoTweetHere) July 17, 2018
A video clip of the remarks posted on Twitter sparked befuddlement and mockery from social media users, who noted there isn’t much space for a soccer stadium in downtown Boston, particularly in the developing area surrounding TD Garden.
While Somerville’s Inner Belt and Assembly Square have been among the past locations where the Krafts have tried to build a stadium, negotiations to bring the Revolution to the Boston area appear to have stalled. The latest proposal to build a 20,000-seat stadium near the UMass Boston campus fell through in April 2017.
Samantha Ornsby, the press secretary for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, told the Boston Business Journal that the city hasn’t talked to the Kraft Group “in awhile” and that a formal proposal has not been filed.
“Mayor Walsh has always said that he’s interested in building a soccer stadium in Boston, however there is currently no proposal before the city,” Orsnby said.
Neither the Revolution nor the MLS responded to requests for comment on the efforts to bring the Revolution to the Boston area. But Jonathan Kraft, the president of the Kraft Group, say he feels they’re closer than ever.
During an interview Wednesday afternoon on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Kraft said that other MLS teams with stadiums in urban environments “are just crushing it,” and he foresees that as “the final step” in New England. The Revolution currently play in Foxborough’s Gillette Stadium, the cavernous 66,000-seat home of the Patriots.
“We sound like a broken record, but we really have been working very diligently on it,” Kraft said in the radio interview. “And I think, in Mayor Walsh now, we have a mayor of the city — his predecessor was really never interested in seeing this happen; I think Mayor Walsh is. And hopefully this is something that we can accomplish in his second term here.”
Walsh was re-elected to his second term, which runs through 2021, in November. Kraft said Wednesday that they originally built Gillette Stadium with the expectation that the Revolution would move into a separate venue.
“I know people think it’s just talk when we say that, and we don’t get into details,” he said of the team’s long-stated goal of relocating to a more accessible location in the Boston area, adding that he could provide details “when we have something substantive to talk about.”
“More and more people talk to me about the Revolution,” Kraft later added. “That’s exciting, too, and we will get the stadium done.”