Is a Boston soccer stadium Kraft’s gooooaaaaalllll?

We need to look to Miami for answers

THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS have long been viewed as the NFL’s equivalent of the CIA with secrets held close to the vest and little useful information disseminated to the masses.

But while head coach Bill Belichick is often targeted as the key player in the information hoarding, he may be challenged by his boss, owner Robert Kraft. The Kraft family has said over the years they are looking to build a soccer stadium somewhere in Boston but concrete information has been hard to come by.

So you have to look elsewhere, as the Boston Business Journal did, to find anything of substance. Jorge Mas, a Miami businessman who co-owns the unnamed MLS franchise that will debut in the next year or two, made a pitch to the Miami Herald editorial board to back a new stadium near that city’s airport. Mas, whose partner includes British soccer star David Beckham, pointed to Kraft’s New England Revolution as the last team to have a new stadium. But he said that will be changing.

“One of the only franchises left to build a soccer-specific stadium is the New England Revolution, which is owned by Bob Kraft of the New England Patriots,” Mas told the editorial board. “They’re building a facility, I think, right near or next to, Boston Garden.”

Which will probably come as a surprise to Mayor Marty Walsh, the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics, residents of the North End, and other stakeholders in the area. There’s precious little land available “right near, or next to” TD Garden, except perhaps the Boston Sand and Gravel property. But there’s no indication that’s going anywhere.

“Mayor Walsh has always said that he’s interested in building a soccer stadium in Boston, however there is currently no proposal before the city,” Samantha Ormsby, Walsh’s press secretary, told the BBJ in an email.

Give Mas a pass for not knowing the city’s geography, but it’s unlikely he’d be that far off about making note of a league partner’s plans for building a soccer stadium. Those types of intentions are often shared among league owners and officials. Kraft and his family did not return the BBJ’s calls for comment so Mas’s remarks are the ones we have to work with.

Widett Circle, a sort of no-man’s land just south of downtown between Southie and the South End, has been viewed as a potential landing spot for a number of transportation and sporting venues, most recently the lamented 2024 Summer Olympics. But there’s always been talk that Kraft would like to site his stadium there, though you won’t hear that talk from Kraft, who was burned by state and local politicians in the late-90s over a broken promise of building a football stadium in Boston.

The timing of it could work in Kraft’s favor as well. Boston is being eyed as one of the cities that could host qualifying games in the 2026 World Cup. A new soccer-specific stadium could go a long way toward securing that honor.

Meet the Author

Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

But the problem with Widett Circle is the same one that confronted the Olympics – access. To build a stadium would also require upgrading the transit system to the area, especially if you’re trying to accommodate World Cup crowds. So you can expect similar resistance from the #NoOlympics folks as well as those in the neighborhood who want other higher uses for the valuable plot. There’s also the Department of Transportation’s argument that the site is needed for off-peak train storage. And there’s a growing call to just rip it all up and remake it into open space.

Whatever the outcome is, though, don’t look toward Foxboro for information. Instead, keep an eye on Miami media. We’ll learn more.