New England Revolution stick to long view on stadium hunt: "An urban location ... is critical"
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution president Brian Bilello fields one particular question every time he chats with supporters at a tailgate or meets with the media.
Bilello understands why everyone asks him about the state of the Revolution's search for a soccer-specific stadium when they see him. And he never tires of hearing about it.
“People should be curious,” Bilello told MLSsoccer.com during the club's annual media day at Gillette Stadium (above) on Tuesday. “People should be interested. It's the most important thing we need to do for the club.”
The importance of the quest has yet to yield any tangible dividends despite a search that has spanned several years. Revolution investor/operator Jonathan Kraft told season-ticket holders on Sunday that the club has spent more than $2 million on the project to date, according to Bilello, but the club has yet to secure the site required to move forward with the project.
Bilello said the club's focus on an urban location – Revolution officials have engaged in talks with the cities of Revere and Somerville during the past year or so – and the corresponding hurdles created by building in congested areas have resulted in a protracted hunt for the right public-private partnership.
“We're extremely committed to it, but – what I've always said and will continue to say – we've chosen and will continue to stay on the tougher path,” Bilello said. “We think having it in a greater Boston, urban location on the T [subway system] is critical to the organization. That is more expensive. It takes longer. It is more difficult. But it is – we feel – the only way to get this club where it needs to be.”
Until the Revs reach that juncture, Bilello will continue to hear that familiar query frequently. Those persistent questions will not prompt the club to change course now, though.
“We're going to continue down the harder path, not the easier path,” Bilello said. “It is the No. 1 priority for the club.”