Should Dorchester get a pro soccer stadium?


The Boston Globe | By Shirley Leung
October 21, 2016

Charlie Baker never warmed up to the idea of Boston hosting the Summer Olympics, and he wasn’t fond of a $1 billion expansion plan for the South Boston convention center.

But when it comes to a Major League Soccer stadium in Dorchester, the governor is keeping an open mind, especially since Boston is one of the few MLS markets without such a venue.

“The opportunity with respect to that could be really terrific,” Baker tells me. “It could be great for all the kids who play soccer.”

That might count as downright enthusiastic for a governor who likes to play in the middle of the field.

The latest is that Bob Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots and New England Revolution, is still angling to build a soccer stadium on the site of the former Bayside Expo Center. Currently, the Revolution play in Foxborough at Gillette Stadium, which was designed for football.

The Kraft family has been engaged in regular discussions with the city of Boston and UMass, which owns the Bayside site, but the sides do not appear close to an agreement. Any deal would be likely to involve the University of Massachusetts offering a long-term lease for the land, while the Krafts would pay for a $250 million stadium that seats 20,000 to 25,000 fans.

“At this point, conversations between UMass and the Krafts are sort of ongoing, and there are a bunch of pretty significant open issues,” Baker said.

Still, the governor can see how this could be a boon to the neighborhood.

“A facility like that could be used by kids and by UMass Boston and by the community at large,” he said. “If the rest of it could get worked out, I think it could be a plus.”

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