Friday roundup: Kraft tries to use World Cup to get new stadium, Roger Noll says Austin MLS subsidies are indeed subsidies, NC mulls new tax breaks for Panthers

Posting this while watching the first World Cup match at the crazy stadium with the seats outside the stadium. (I haven’t honestly even noticed who the teams are yet, I’m just watching the architecture.) Anyhoo:


14 comments on “Friday roundup: Kraft tries to use World Cup to get new stadium, Roger Noll says Austin MLS subsidies are indeed subsidies, NC mulls new tax breaks for Panthers

  1. Congrats Bob Kraft! You are first under the wire…

    A little peeved that it’s for an MLS stadium though (um, about that FIFA mandated minimum capacity of 45,000, or “35,000”, depending on whom you ask… but still, google Revs attendance and, well, um…), as this seems like the perfect opportunity to demand a new NFL stadium. Although, clearly, he still has time to do that…

    And, what good is a world cup if you can’t use it to demand a publicly funded stadium for a completely different sport? #ThanksFIFA

    The LOL award goes to the guy in the linked article who claimed the Revs biggest problem was that they are ‘stuck’ out in Foxboro… As we know, that has certainly killed the Patriots…

    Second place to the writer who claimed that WC2026 will generate $11Bn in FIFA profits (which I totally believe) and also generate $5Bn in total economic activity.

    Man, those FIFA marketing folks really know what they are doing…

    • Boston gave a big thumbs down to the Olympics. Highly doubt they’d open their wallets because of a soccer stadium.

      • Boston land is too expensive to give it away for a soccer stadium. Boston needs housing and transport and that’s were land is going right now. Kraft will not get it for free or cheap in a location that is near transit.

        It is a Herald “analysis” so you can’t assume it involved deep thinking. Having been to a few soccer games at Foxboro I fully agree it is “stuck” out there, but then again that’s exactly where Robert Kraft chose to build it. Almost no public transit (some buses, a single MBTA train for Pats games), horrible parking, limited hotels, no neighborhood to speak of (the mall is nice), and maybe the worst road access of any stadium in America. Watching soccer there is fine, but even a crowd around 30-35k creates horrid post-game traffic. The stadium itself is very nice and a good place to watch.

        Boston should be a host city–international guests tend to love it–but the bid is going to have to answer for the horrible transportation infrastructure to be competitive. Building a FIFA Fan area in the Charles River parks and then running buses or special trains to Foxboro might do it, but other cities will be better. But depending on the WC to get a fancy DC-style stadium is unlikely to happen.

  2. Re: Gondola to Dodger Stadium – Dodger Stadium is absolutely DYING for some sort of alternative method of transit, but the problem (as I see it) is capacity. On their own video they state they can bring “5,000 fans per hour” – which is a lot, except Dodger Stadium holds 56,000 fans (and is almost always the highest average attendance) There isn’t much to do around Dodger Stadium before/after a game, therefore people taking said gondola would likely arrive (and leave) around the same time. With capacity at around 1/11th of Stadium capacity (and about 1/8th of normal usage) I don’t see how this “solves” the problem of traffic around Dodger Stadium.

    • Agree, but 5000 fans arriving via gondola would take about 2500 cars off the stadium route, which is a nice start.

      • True, and the highest volume would probably be in the 7th inning. Now, instead of beating traffic, fans would avoid the gonodola rush.

      • I might also wonder how much of this 5,000 people were already taking the existing Dodger Stadium Express bus from Union Station (&/or the South Bay)…..in other words, how much of the gondola ridership is just cannibalized from existing public transit options.

  3. Neil, would a 35k seat stadium be satisfactory for MLS? The new stadiums in Orlando/MN/LA & MLS’s own criteria say that would be too large of a stadium. Even Seattle/ATL/VAN remove sections like the A’s. Seems like it would require a refit like Turner Field after the World Cup.

  4. Watching the WC game today at that crazy stadium I noticed that the seats outside the stadium were packed while the seats along the sidelines were more than half empty. Makes me wonder why they didn’t just lower the ticket prices instead of spending a lot of money to build more “cheap” seats. Then again, I’m still struggling to understand how relentless greed works.

    • When we were trying to get into a 94 World Cup game in Chicago, everyone was looking for the $60 general tickets from scalpers, but the only tickets being sold were $120 tickets by scalpers who appeared to be some sort of event officials. It seemed like the good seats had been compted to them and they were trying to sell them.

    • This is not that unusual for group stage matches Kris. A significant percentage of the “good” seats for games are comped to officials, host committee members, corporate partners and the like. IIRC, Andrew Jennings wrote about the 2008 (?) Champions League final in which almost 40% of the tickets were comps to UEFA execs, sponsors and other friends and partners. Another 35% went to the two teams (some of which would also have been comped to THEIR partners and execs), leaving under 30% of the total number of seats available for general sale. #Economic Driver.

      For low demand games, these are often resold outside the stadia. And it’s not only the World Cup that this happens at.

      I’ve been to a couple of U18/World Jr. Baseball championships and invariably when you are walking up to the ticket window for games not involving the host country’s team you will be stopped by someone trying to sell a premium seat for well under face value…

      I suspect it’s not about ticket prices in the case you cited… those seats probably were never “really” on sale in the first place.

    • To solve this empty seat issue during the 2006 WC, the organizing committee developed a system where local people could sign up for last-minute returned sponsor tickets. I lived near Munich and got tickets to several games that way, to include the semifinal–for list price. While better than a scalper, I don’t think the general public of South Africa, Brazil, and Russia have the disposable income to pay FIFA prices.

  5. I don’t get Kraft’s logic here. FIFA is interested in our existing 70,000 seat stadium, which is why we should build another, much smaller stadium, they would not be interested in. He should have gone with the “if we build our smaller stadium, it can be used for WC training, which will ensure we get to host some games in the big stadium, and reap billions and billions in economic impact.”

  6. “The 93-page World Cup bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada claims awarding the Cup to North America will create $11 billion in profits for FIFA and $5 billion in economic activity…”
    Sounds like the negotiators from Canada, America, and Mexico got their playbook from “The Art of the Deal”.