Saturday, May 05, 2007

Revolution Stadium Prospect Part 3 - Foxboro

The most affordable solution to giving the Revs an appropriately sized stadium would be to build one right on the land the Krafts already own in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Some of the problems, such as the lack of public transportation, would still exist. However, building a soccer stadium like the one in Bridgeview, IL would give the fans a better gameday experience, allow both Kraft-owned teams to go back to natural grass, and keep the Revs faithful within walking distance of the new Patriots Place project. (click title to read more)

The good news is a top-notch SSS can be built for $30-50 million provided you already have the land, which they do. There are some financial drawbacks to consider, though. The Revs already play at Gillette Stadium which is privately owned and financed by the Kraft family. Building a stadium in the same spot isn't guaranteed to have any effect on attendance. The owners may feel that a new stadium in Foxboro is superfluous and, unless a smaller stadium is much cheaper to operate, a waste of money.

That point is a serious one for them to ponder. With the Tweeter Center just down the road, they would probably face political opposition if concerts were to be an intricate part of the business plan. That may rule out a ton of concerts during the summer, thus preventing a new revenue stream.

However, with the Revs out of Gillette, that frees up a lot more weekends to schedule huge concerts without worrying about rushing to set up/take down the stage and prep the field for soccer. In fact, one of the reasons the field got in such bad shape was that soccer games prevented the field from recovering after such big events.

A project like this would probably require a partner. A partnership like AEG and Red Bull have for the new stadium being built in Harrison, NJ is probably ruled out unless they plan on holding a lot of concerts and whoring the stadium to motocross. An obvious partnership would be with a company to build a hotel right into the stadium. Think about it. The new Patriots Place project is getting off the ground and would get business from the guests, the hotel is guaranteed to be at capacity for Patriots home weekends, and a major hotel would be a good step in making Foxboro the "destination" the Krafts envision. To be honest, that's probably the best chance for the Revs to get a SSS in Foxboro because it would add cashflow, increase the value of Kraft's plot of land, and offset the investment Kraft would need to make.


If they were to build such a stadium, they really need to do something to make the exterior stand out. The reason I say this is Gillette Stadium looks like your standard NFL venue from the outside: fairly drab, but they dress it up with player pictures, flags, etc... Having a soccer stadium that looks the same from the outside, yet 1/3 the size, would give it a "papa stadium-baby stadium" effect which should be avoided.

Even if they don't go with a hotel, I'm willing to bet they'll at least have office space inside the stadium. Making the exterior sharp looking would attract interest from potential companies. Here's some examples of stadiums that have nice exteriors:

SK Brann's new stadium in Norway

IK Start's Sor Arena (also in Norway)

Both of those stadiums, when completed, will have a classy facade and will look anything like an afterthought (a stigma Kraft has with some fans in regards to how he feels about the team).

In regards to the interior, most of the ideas I put forth in the last segment still apply. A roof over every seat is mandatory, in my opinion, to get people to come out to the stadium when it rains. Also, the ability to quickly upgrade seating capacity would ensure the venue gets it's share of big games while keeping scarcity and intimacy for the standard MLS games.

Luxury suites may be a problem, especially if they can't promise a lot of concerts. Most corporations want them for the NFL games. Although, I'd be willing to bet the Krafts would raise the prices to some of the ones in Gillette, and then make some of the richer clients buys suites at the soccer stadium. I'm sure some of the suites would sell to people/companies just for the Revs, but not anywhere near the price seen at Gillette.

As you can see, there are still obstacles facing SSS construction in Foxboro. If this was a no-brainer, they would already have built one. My next installment is quite an interesting one which would require quite a gambit by the Kraft family, and it doesn't involve a move to Boston. Check back for part 4 shortly.


Matthew said...

An SSS would be ideal, but at the chicago game I had an idea to make Gillette more soccer friendly. How about build a retractable fabric roof over the lower bowl, much like the colloseum had in ancient Rome. Inside the stadium people would not see the empty upper decks and you would get your roof for protection and sound containment.

Blue Blooded Journo said...

Very interesting. It'd have to be sturdy enough to withstand driving rain, though.

However, it might be tough to reverse engineer Gillette like that.