While further news of a hopeful soccer-specific stadium for the New England Revolution has not come as quickly as one might have hoped following a deluge of reports at the beginning of the month, there is still information slowly trickling out. Immediately following Dan Rizzo's arrival, seemingly out of nowhere, apparently to hand the Kraft Group the keys to Wonderland, there were supporters rejoicing. Then, suddenly, Somerville and their Assembly Square development seemed to enter into the mix. Years had gone by with no word from Cambridge Lite, but with Revere in the mix the Revs suddenly got a whole lot more attractive.
This is analogous to the boy who cannot get the woman of her dreams until he has a girlfriend. Suddenly, he becomes attractive. Is this, perchance, what has happened with New England? Have Bob Kraft and the Kraft Sports Group pulled off the oldest high school dating trick in the book on Somerville? The Revs were just a kid. An average kid. Then Revere showed a little interest and the popular girl (Somerville) suddenly got interested, too. They basically transformed into Ronald Miller. With Somerville always seemingly waiting in the wings, was Bob Kraft just waiting for someone else to step up? Was he waiting for another city to play off of Somerville? Dan Rizzo may have provided just that.
Smith College sports economist Andrew Zimbalist tells The Boston Business Journal, Bob Kraft is finding himself in a position where the Revolution are suddenly a hot commodity. So much so that "the battle over where the New England Revolution score their proposed 20,000-seat plus venue will come down to which community offers the most cash incentives."
The Revs had been the forgotten child of the Boston sports scene for awhile; hence, the constant complaints about Bob Kraft. But if Bob Kraft is anything, he's a business man. The fact is, that despite our feelings on the Kraft Group's handling of the Revolution, they have possibly stumbled into an ideal situation. Two communities - one up-and-coming in Revere, and one already hip and trendy in Somerville - are fighting over their services. It is hard to have a bidding war with only one bidder. When Revere stepped in, the Kraft Group may have received what they've always needed: someone willing to help get the price lower on Somerville.
As the whole thing plays out, Bob Kraft, the man Revs fans have grown to dislike, seems to have played the whole thing correctly. Kraft has not had the best relationship with the City of Boston since his plan for a South Boston Patriot's stadium collapsed, and he threatened to move the Patriots to Hartford. The rumor is many in the Boston City Council still hold that over his head. But Revere is not Boston, nor is Somerville, and Dan Rizzo, the Mayor of Revere, seems to be all in. He is offering bonds and big help from the city. Meanwhile, Joseph Curtatone, the Mayor of Somerville, is trying to play it cool. But Curtatone has been quoted as saying that his administration is currently looking at how MLS and other cities have worked together in building stadiums, so he is at least slightly interested again. Well played, Bob. Well played.
Yes, neither deal is official. Yes, neither offer is real. And yes, neither stadium is going to exist for the 2013 MLS season. But the fact of the matter is that there are two communities out there that seem to be vying for a Revolution stadium. Who would have thought?
Perhaps it is the conspiracy theorist in me, but maybe the Kraft Group is simply playing Somerville off Revere. Right now the Kraft Group is, allegedly, planning on finding out exactly what they could get from each city. They are purportedly looking for the best deal. Is Somerville better than Revere? Is Revere better than Somerville? Either way, both are better than Foxboro. So if Kraft, the business man, can get a better deal for a Greater Boston area SSS location by playing one city off another, doesn't everyone win?