It’s not every day that you have a story about a team’s stadium price tag going up when there’s no actual plan of what stadium to build or where, but that’s what we had this weekend with the Boston Globe’s report that New England Revolution owner and famed massage parlor enthusiast Bob Kraft is now looking to spend $400 million on a stadium … somewhere:
During a fan event last weekend, Revs team president Brian Bilello offered some reassurance that the hunt remains very much alive. Snippets from the event emerged on Twitter, including the mention of a new price tag. A spokesman confirmed that the Kraft Group is now willing to invest as much as $400 million in a roughly 20,000-seat soccer stadium. The location? Sorry, everyone. That remains a mystery.
This story was apparently entirely based on week-old tweets by Paul Foley, a “dad, oral care expert, soccer fan” and former contributor to a now-defunct sports talk radio show with a now-defunct Twitter account, who got to talk to Bilello (or at least transcribe his statements) at a pregame event. Foley responded on Twitter as one does:
— Paul Foley (@pfoley58) April 27, 2019
I’m perfectly willing to believe that Bilello actually said “$400 million private investment supported by Krafts” as Foley says he did; what that means is another thing. Is Kraft really ready to build the most expensive MLS stadium in history on his own dime? How a new Revolution stadium would be paid for has been an official secret for even longer than where it might go — way back in 2015 he proposed paying for one with a ticket tax, which only would have worked with a ticket tax of around $40 — so you’d think Globe writer Jon Chesto would have asked the team for an official statement on this, but there’s no indication that he did beyond getting confirmation that Bilello used the $400 million figure. (Though he did get two sports economists, Victor Matheson and Andy Zimbalist, to say, in effect, “man, that sounds like a lot of money.”) As a Professional Editor of Journalism, I would have sent this back to the author with the note “needs comment from team on financial plan or indication that they refused to comment,” but I guess that’s not how the Globe rolls these days.