Talk about a new Boston MLS stadium for the New England Revolution is back in the discussion phase, as team owner Robert Kraft and Mayor Martin J. Walsh have met several times about such a facility.
It’s no secret Kraft and family want to see the Revolution in a soccer-specific stadium and out of Gillette Stadium, the Foxboro home of the New England Patriots — the NFL team also owned by the Kraft family. The ideal Revolution stadium would hold between 20,000 and 26,000 fans, but given the price of real estate in Boston, it wouldn’t be cheap to build: $200 million.
And while Kraft built Gillette Stadium on his own dime, he’s talking with Walsh about possible government assistance, mostly on the financing (not funding) end. Why? Governments can float bonds at a lower rate than corporations. It’s really that simple. Now, whether Walsh goes for some sort of bond issue or other infrastructure assistance remains to be seen: he’s been quoted as saying government shouldn’t build sports facilities (remember, TD Garden construction and Fenway Park renovations were financed by team owners, not the city), even when it comes to possibly hosting the Summer Olympics. From the Boston Globe:
One scenario Kraft has floated with City Hall is having Boston build and own a $200 million soccer stadium, according to a person close to the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are ongoing. The debt would be repaid by a tax charged on tickets….
Government backing of stadiums has been used in other states, but not in Massachusetts. Typically, public aid here comes in the form of public works upgrades, such as fixing roads and offering tax breaks for creating jobs.
Walsh said it’s too early to talk about whether the city would hand out incentives for Kraft’s project.
Still, with early discussions happening and a general sense of optimism about a potential new Boston MLS stadium, look for the talk to accelerate in coming months. Just remember: talks have already been going on for several months.
RELATED STORIES: New Revolution stadium in motion?; South Boston site eyed for new Rev stadium; After Revolution uprising, will we see soccer-only stadium in Boston?