With the World Cup beginning on Thursday, Jonathan Kraft joined Felger & Mazz to discuss the state of the New England Revolution and soccer in America.
Michael Felger and Kraft agreed that in many parts of the country, soccer “has arrived,” with Kraft citing MLS’ television deal with ESPN, Fox and Univision for $720 million over eight years.
“I think that the sport is definitely on an upward trajectory, and I think there’s no question that it’s growing in relevance and interest,” Kraft said.
As for what the Revolution need to do locally to become more of a part of the local sports landscape, Kraft said it’s no secret.
“The real issue isn’t the on-pitch performance … I think the real issue is, and it’s no secret, we need a soccer-specific stadium. The Revolution are 18 years old, and probably for the last 12 years we’ve been working on this,” Kraft said of the Revs, who play their games at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
Kraft expressed optimism that a new Boston mayor in Marty Walsh could provide the impetus to get a new stadium situation figured out in the near future.
“We’re working hard at doing it, but there aren’t tracks of land just sitting there. We’re a developed, older, more mature city and it’s harder to make these things happen,” Kraft said. “That being said, we are working hard on it. Unfortunately, I don’t think this was something Mayor Menino saw the value in, and it didn’t get a lot of attention.
“I think Mayor Walsh believes in the sport and understands the impact it could have on the city beyond just the sport but what you can do with the use of the city and cultural events. Hopefully we’ll see if become a reality in the near future.”
Tony Massarotti asked Kraft about the Boston Magazine article which claimed the Krafts are the worst owners in the entire league. Kraft said the story had no credibility.
“When reporters call your office a day or two before they tell your PR people that they’re publishing a 3,000 or 6,000-word piece on your ownership of the Revolution, and they’ve been working on it for months, and they call you [days before it runs]. You’re a reporter, you know what that means. So it didn’t matter what we had to say,” Kraft explained. “You know what your journalistic chops are if you call somebody a couple of days before writing something like that when you’ve been working on it for months.”
Kraft also gave his outlook on the U.S. Men’s National Team in this World Cup and beyond. Listen below: