Massachusetts governor on Dorchester stadium for Revolution: “Think of the children!”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says he’d consider a proposal by New England Revolution owner Robert Kraft to build a soccer stadium in Dorchester in southern Boston, which, you know, that’s what governors say, so it’s to be expected. But then Baker went and said this:

“A facility like that could be used by kids and by UMass Boston and by the community at large,” he said. “If the rest of it could get worked out, I think it could be a plus.”

Um, what? The stadium, if built, would be on land owned by UMass-Boston, so they could certainly try to work out a deal by which their soccer team could use the stadium when the Revolution isn’t home. But “kids” and “the community at large”? Has Baker ever seen a pro soccer stadium? Unless it’s going to be surrounded by practice pitches (it won’t), no local kids are going to get to play on its field except maybe as halftime entertainment. While a Dorchester stadium wouldn’t necessarily be a terrible idea — it all depends on how much Kraft would pay for the site and who’d pay for construction, something that at last report was still being left to the magic funding fairy — building it under the pretense that it will benefit youth soccer is just daft.

Not to be left out, Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung added: “Some may say I have never met a stadium I didn’t like. But I really like this one. What’s most exciting is the opportunity to build something different in a part of the city that could use an economic jolt. It’s not another strip mall, big-box retailer, or luxury condo tower — and that’s a good thing.” Except that at least strip malls are open 365 days a year, whereas soccer stadiums are big dark boxes 90% of the time. Maybe Dorchester should just build a strip mall with a youth soccer field in the parking lot?


11 comments on “Massachusetts governor on Dorchester stadium for Revolution: “Think of the children!”

  1. That was an actual quote by the writer of that article? Lol wow. As clear an example of the sports-media complex as you’ll ever see.

  2. NCAA soccer teams sharing MLS facilities seems like a good idea. But college soccer has a short schedule, and most of the small crowds can’t legally buy beer, and they walk to the games. So how much extra revenue is that?

    • And the games have very low attendance, short of the NCAA tournament, but playing that in New England in mid-December seems like a bad idea.

      • NCAA soccer tournament games are generally poorly attended. There is not enough time or interest to get that many fans to the championship with a weeks notice. Last year the final four games and championships had attendance around 4k (they have had better years before though)

  3. Neil, you didn’t include links to either the article or the column.

    I think there is a reasonable explanation for what the Governor said. When he said “kids” he was really referring to teenagers. High school football championships are often played at MLS soccer stadiums. Yes, grade school age kids are not going to use this stadium. But some high school students will.

    • Sorry, link is there now. Or here’s the direct URL:

      https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/10/20/charlie-baker-says-soccer-stadium-dorchester-could-really-terrific/ulkhMPFpcwyNhQUJ8aowGM/story.html

      • I was a little reluctant to read this article, as I figured it would be more of what Ms. Leung wrote while cheerleading for a Boston Olympics idea that didn’t seem to motivate many except for Robert Kraft. So at least it wasn’t surprising!

        As stadium locations go, not terrible. However, the way highways were built in South Boston tends to cut off commercial properties like that…there’s a reason a couple ideas have gone broke there. Subway stop, but a semi-dangerous walk to the area.

        I find it funny that to journalists like this one, things like street renovations can only be done in conjunction with a stadium project. I would take a look at putting a traffic light in that neighborhood, see what it does to accessibility, and see if such a small investment (which would be made for a stadium anyway), might assist.

        Ms. Leung might also try to pull the string a bit on where things like public maintenance facilities would go once the land and property would (presumably) be given cheaply to Robert Kraft.

        More of the same, unlikely to happen.

  4. Just wait until the current stadium are deemed sexist because they were built for men’s teams. The WNBA will demand new stadiums for their teams.

    • WNBA is a basketball league that plays in indoor arenas, not stadiums. Most of the WNBA teams that share a market with an NBA team play in the same arena as the NBA team (i.e., LA Sparks and Lakers both play in the Staples Center, NY Liberty and Knicks both play in MSG).

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