With the league's second-worst attendance through October 10th - a paltry 13,281 that honestly seems high - one could be forgiven for thinking that the New England Revolution are not an MLS club in high demand. Apparently, though, it's just the opposite! If you're a Massachusetts municipality with land available, anyway.
After news broke over the past month that the Krafts were having talks with Revere about building their stadium at the Wonderland dog track and also still discussing a move to Somerville (this time at Assembly Square), fans and local media latched onto the two sites, believing them to be the only seriously interested parties in the hunt. Today, another city in the Bay State has improbably emerged to throw its hat into the ring: Fall River.
According to Will Richmond of The Herald News, Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan recently penned a letter to Robert Kraftextolling the virtues of Fall River as a soccer destination. Specifically, he seems to believe that the large Portuguese population in Fall River will translate into gate receipts, given the amount of soccer they play and watch.
It's an intriguing premise, and one that the Revolution has half-heartedly pursued in the past. Courting the Portuguese contingent in Massachusetts is something that's talked about constantly, but practically, those communities seem no more interested in the Revolution than anyone else. In fact, in some ways they appear less so. These people appear far more interested in Benfica, Porto, and their own LUSA club teams than MLS.
Flanagan also cites Fall River's proximity to major highways, which is certainly a good point. Fall River is also a major historic site for American soccer, as it is the ancestral home of the Fall River Marksmen, one of the most successful clubs of the American Soccer League from nearly 100 years ago. That said, I can't put a stamp of approval on this, and I'm not sure I could ever see the Revs doing that, either.
It's been emphasized that the Revs are targeting a stadium within the Greater Boston area, on an MBTA T line, and Fall River is neither of those. It's closer to Providence than Boston, and there isn't even a commuter rail stop in Fall River at the moment. Highways or not, accessibility and location would be enormous issues for the Revs in Fall River. It might be a step up from Foxboro, but not a big enough step up.
Here's the only thing that worries me. In that same Herald piece, Flanagan asserts that "we can beat any incentive program being offered by any other city or town." Now, I find it hard to believe that Fall River, an area that (last I checked) wasn't exactly flush with cash, could afford to match the sort of incentives that Revere would be able to put forward, especially with Revere in line to get those casino payments. Regardless, we all know that Bob Kraft is a
scrooge businessman, first and foremost. If Flanagan finds a way to make it worth his while, it's not at all outside the realm of possibility that Kraft would make the move.