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New Stadium Means New Possibilities for Revolution

Revolution in Gillette Stadium

Behind the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, it’s hard for the Revolution to get noticed and draw attendance. So, does it really matter to New Englanders that the Revolution are looking for a new soccer-specific stadium? It should.

All across Major League Soccer, teams are building soccer stadiums to create an intimate feel and drive in fans. Now, the Revs are looking to get out of Foxboro and leave for a new area, closer to Boston.

Moving on up

The Patriots can afford to live in Foxboro. It’s not hard for them to fill 68,000-plus seats every Sunday, not matter how ridiculous the prices are. Those who have rode the MBTA to Patriots games realize that it is for special events only to Foxboro. For many, including the MBTA, soccer is just not that special enough. A move close to Boston might just be what the team needs.

The new home for the Revs could be Somerville. Just north of Boston, the area could be a perfect fit for a soccer stadium. For fans who can’t, or refuse to, drive to Foxboro, this is a short ride up the red line. Considering that tickets range from $20-$40 a pop, that could be the most reasonable deal you’ll find around the city. A family could afford to go to a professional sports game without mortgaging their house.

The stadium will have anywhere between 20,000 and 25,000 seats, which will create a real intimate setting. No more depressing images of stadiums a third full, with whatever fans in attendance crammed into single sections. Even during the MLS Cup games held at the old Foxboro, the stadium was only half-full at best. The new stadiums could change the landscape for the team.

It was football pioneer Lamar Hunt who built the first soccer specific stadium for his franchise, the Columbus Crew. Other MLS teams, such as the Los Angeles Galaxy and FC Dallas, have seen their profits increase since moving into their new stadiums. The idea of a soccer-specific stadium has been so successful that the Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Toronto FC, Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake have all moved into their own stadiums.

Next season, the New York Red Bulls will move into their state of the art arena, while the Giants and Jets are still forced to play at the Meadowlands. When they come into the league, the Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers and the unnamed Vancouver expansion team will already be set in their new soccer-approved venues.

Does anyone care about soccer?

Surprisingly, people do. Following team USA’s success in the 2002 World Cup, soccer has begun to steadily grow in popularity. With the coverage of this year’s Confederation Cup, it appears that the interest in soccer will not go away. ESPN’s Bill Simmons continually talks about the soccer’s positive traits that make it more attractable to American audiences.

Considering that there is uninterrupted gameplay for 45 minutes and the games almost always end in two hours, there is time to sit and watch a game and the viewer will know roughly when it will end, instead of wasting a whole day watching mainly commercials, as the case with other sports. Also, consider the constant growth and improvements of television. High Definition TV has changed the way people watch and consider watching every blade of grass blowing in the wind, and all of a sudden the game of soccer becomes something beautiful.

Now close you eyes and envision fans wearing their Revolution jerseys, standing a few feet away from the field and cheering in unison. The image on your television would be something spectacular and could be something more in person.

“But, Boston is not a soccer town!”

Not yet. However, give it time and that could all change. Boston loves a winner and the Revolution have proven in recent years to be one of the top teams. They have been MLS Cup runner up four time, including three straight years from 2005-2007. They recently won the US Open Cup in 2007 and the International SuperLiga Championship in 2008. Currently this year they are third in the Eastern Conference and looking at another playoff run.

They also have a proven star and proven following. Taylor Twellman is someone the team can build around. He is a former MVP and Golden Boot Winner, both in 2005. He has played for the national team and has unsuccessfully been sought after by European clubs. A move to Somerville could be the chance for Twellman to become a star in New England.

Have you ever been to a Revolution game and seen a group of fans singing and cheering in a particular section.If so, then you have seen the Midnight Riders, the official support group since the team joined the league in 1995. They currently have over 400 members and can be seen at games in “The Fort,” which is their own little section. A move to Somerville and a growth in popularity could see “The Fort” spreading around an arena.

So, what does it all mean?

Owner Robert Kraft and head coach Steve Nicol are excited about the possibilities of a soccer stadium in Somerville. Revenues aside, the new atmosphere will be a fan-friendly experience and something that can help soccer gain popularity in New England in the upcoming years. The stadium will also create a new venue for musical acts and other events around the city. Whole new possibilities come with the building of a new stadium.

It will be years from now before any decision is made. However, this is the first step in New England becoming a soccer destination.

About Teddy

Was born in Queens, NY, but moved up to New Hampshire around 12, when my interest in sports really began to boom. A huge fan of the Boston sports scene, especially the Sox, Celts, Bruins and Pats. Went to Keene State College where I majored in Journalism and went around covering the college teams. Not just a bandwagon fan... i tend to follow everything from the Draft to Championships. Love to write and look forward to bringing a fun, interesting style... hopefully...

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Discussion

5 comments for “New Stadium Means New Possibilities for Revolution”

  1. Great article, but… “Even during the MLS Cup games held at the old Foxboro, the stadium was only half-full at best. ”

    Half-full?
    Maybe the first one in 1996, but the last one in 2002 had 61,316 people at it.

    http://web.mlsnet.com/mls/events/mls_cup/2004/history/archive.jsp?year=2002&content=cup

    Posted by Roberto | September 10, 2009, 9:51 pm
  2. That’s true… I was more playing off a personal experience. I was at the MLS Cup in 1999, between United and Galaxy. It says that near 45,000 people were there, but if you attended the game, it seemed that all the upper portions of the old Foxboro Stadium were sectioned off. Like they sold more tickets then people actually going to the game. Perhaps so to the Revs being in the 2002 game, more people decided to attend?

    Posted by Teddy | September 12, 2009, 7:52 am
  3. “Behind the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, it’s hard for the Revolution to get noticed and draw attendance. So, does it really matter to New Englanders that the Revolution are looking for a new soccer-specific stadium? It should.”

    Really, it should? then why do the Revs not get a category here? PS: What proof do you have that the Revs are behind the Bruins in popularity?

    “Does anyone care about soccer?
    Surprisingly, people do.”

    Surprisingly? Have you ever been outside the US?

    Posted by kraftownzrevs | December 13, 2009, 9:36 am
  4. @kraftownzrevs: Surprisingly people do care about soccer, in the US! Read the context, jerk.

    Also, do you really think the Revs are AHEAD of the Bruins in popularity? I’m as much of a defender of the Revs as any, but you’re so wrong.

    Think of it this way: The Bruins have been around since 1925 and are one of the Original Six NHL teams. The Revolution have been around since 1996, and so has the MLS. The Bruins won five Stanley Cups before the Revs won a game.

    Sure the NHL has their money problems (with the lockout, rough economy, etc), but of the 15 MLS teams in 2008, only THREE were profitable (LA Galaxy, Toronto, Dallas).

    So, in conclusion, the Bruins are obviously more popular than the Revolution (though I will admit the MLS is growing), and you are an ignorant jerk.

    Posted by KC | December 15, 2009, 5:46 am
  5. To kraftownzrevs:

    Argument 1:
    Bruins avg attendance: 2008: 17,040, 2009: 17,173 capacity: 17,565 (near sellout every game)
    Revolutions avg attendance: 2009: 12,427 capacity: 68,756 (not even close)

    Sure it doesn’t exactly show what’s more popular, but if more people are attending Bruins games I’ll be set arguing that the Bruins are more popular in Boston. For the rest of America, there’s more of an argument. The Seattle Sounders averaged over 31 thousand, which is very impressive and more then the best NHL team. Still, this past Stanley Cup was watched by over four million people per night, with seven and a half million watching game seven. So far the only thing I can find for the MLS Cup 2009 was that it had a .5 TV share, which didn’t qualify it for a top 20 spot for Nov. 22nd.

    also, the Revolution do have a section on the website, but there is more attention paid to Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins instead. Articles tend to come from demand and those four sports are the most demand. I hope that will change when the World Cup comes around.

    Argument 2:
    “Does anyone care about soccer?” Have I been outside the USA?

    I understand that there are soccer fans outside of America, I live next door to a guy from Liverpool, but this article is intended for American readers. I am sure many people who are not fans of soccer know its popularity outside the country, I was just trying to make an obvious statement, if I failed then I’m sorry. A good sign is that the coverage of soccer in the United States greatly grew with the USA’s success in the 2002 World Cup, hopefully that continues should the States makes a run next year in South Africa. Then Soccer’s popularity will increase in the States and “more people will care!”

    Thank you for criticizing my article. I am happy to know people are reading and arguing any points I make. I try to use as many facts as possible and sometimes they don’t get linked to the article, my bad. I’ll keep up on those in the future. I respect your opinions and hope you continue to read any future soccer articles I write.

    Posted by Teddy | December 15, 2009, 2:13 pm

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