Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The COO Speaks! Should we listen?

Yesterday was media day for the Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Many in the local media gathered for a smorgasbord of player, coach, and bigwig interviews. Correctly staged on an off day for the Red Sox, a good turnout was reported (would the media ever labeled their own turnout as bad?).

One of the speakers was Brian Bilello, the Revolution's chief operating officer (never to be confused with a chief operations officer). He spoke on a wide range of issues that played lip service to some of the recent MLS initiatives, upcoming double-headers, and of course, David Beckham. However, it was some of the answers he gave about the long term plans for the franchise that was interesting. Although he was overly vague in his answers, he actually answered a few of the great mysteries on how the Revs front office actually works.

In his comments about the search for a soccer specific stadium, Mr. Bilello stated the team was meeting with multiple cities and towns about several sites, but gave no specific reference to where and who. In regards to a designated player for the team, he mentioned how the player had to be right for the team on and off the field. That's a no brainer and already known, but remember it's Bilello making these statements.

Brian Bilello was hired initially to consult on the efficient operation of Gillette Stadium. He was hired in 2006 as the Revs COO. Many believed it to be another sign the Krafts were tightening the proverbial tourniquet around this franchise's money wound. Some of that may be true, but Bilello is a soccer guy who played at MIT and is a former season ticket holder. Putting him front and center on media day, updating the stadium situation and the organization's stance on signing a big name player at the very least showed us fans that 1.) a stadium is in the team's long range plans and 2.) Brian Bilello will be a big part of that process.

Some may say that the stadium talk was a reactionary measure after that editorial in the Globe a few weeks back. Maybe. Maybe not. It was bound to be brought up by the press. In fact, stadium talk was all the rage at Meet The Revs a few days prior. It's a positive sign that the organization is allowing stadium expectations to be part of their culture. Don't let that mislead you. It'll be at least 4-5 years before the Revs get their own digs, and it may wind up right next to Gillette. A smaller stadium would be better suited for a wider range of events than the football stadium, and the Krafts want traffic to the new Patriots Place development being constructed in the near future.

I guess the best part in all of this is that we won't have to rely on either of the Krafts to be the sole drivers in a stadium push. We'll see if Brian Bilello keeps us updated on a greater than annual basis. For the time being, though, I'm glad the team let us know where they stand for a change.