It is no secret that one of the most discussed stadium situations in Major League Soccer involves the New England Revolution. Fans of the team have long complained that Gillette Stadium is too big, too cavernous and too remote to be a successful venue. At the same time, the stadium is owned by the same family/entity that owns the Revs, suggesting that the team has little impetus to spend money to buy land or build a stadium just for the Revs. Over the years, the Revs have repeatedly disputed this assertion, saying that they are actively looking for the right opportunity. Yet despite those promises, there has been little belief that a soccer specific stadium is on the horizon.
Now comes news that the Revs are looking at a stadium site in Revere at the site of the former Wonderland Dog Track. The site is attached to the last stop of the “blue” line of Boston’s subway/transit system and sits in an area with a variety of ethnicities often continued targets for MLS teams. Unfortunately, the site is connected to Boston and the North Shore areas by 2 lanes of old roads in each direction, traffic circles and traffic lights every half mile. Without significant and expensive improvements in an area that is heavily congested and built-up, a stadium (even one under 20k) would create a massive traffic problem.
The possibility of such a stadium is reportedly tied into efforts to build a casino on the grounds of the nearby Suffolk Downs racetrack. Because the legislation that permits the construction of casinos gives municipalities enormous leverage in evaluating casino proposals, and because the Suffolk Downs folks own the Wonderland facility, Revere can pressure the ownership group on the Wonderland property. This may afford Kraft Sports the opportunity to acquire land (via lease or purchase) on which to construct a stadium at far less than market rates.
So is there a future stadium for the Revs in Revere? Given the last few years, fans have a right to be skeptical. Moreover, any such stadium would likely be many years in the future. However, the Wonderland site has long been considered one of the best options in the Boston area and is one that makes a great amount of sense.
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