Greater City Providence

New England Revolution Soccer to Providence?

Half full stadium

New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Photo (cc) Mikenan1

For some time now, the Krafts, owners of the New England Patriot, Gillette Stadium, and the New England Revolution soccer club have been talking about a purpose built stadium for their soccer team. The Revolution currently play at Gillette and as seen in the photo above, the Revs don’t quite fill Gillette’s 68,756 seats.

While the Krafts have been looking in the Greater Boston area, with Somerville especially pushing for a 20,000 seat stadium on land aside the MBTA green line extension through that city, the ProJo editorialized today about bringing the team here.

Of course any thoughts of the Krafts looking to Providence for a stadium location brings back memories of the Patriots playing us off Hartford to get Massachusetts to give them the incentives they wanted all along.

So, would we want a soccer stadium in Providence and if so, where?

Would you like to see a stadium for the New England Revolution soccer team built in Providence?

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Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • It would be interesting to reuse the Harris Ave area, with public transportation increases.

  • this would be huge for the city. where would they put it? i hear the jewelry district has some property for sale…

    they could tear down the mall and tell all the stores to relocate to all of the empty storefronts downtown and put in a stadium in its place.

  • Yes. But so glad we didn’t build that monster Pats Stadium here. We live in a different time now and so…

    How about a Rev Stadium along the harbor on Allens Ave?

    • Spur area redevelopment
    • Neighborhood revitalization for South Providence/Jewelry District
    • Neighborhood access
    • Decent highway access
    • Far enough away from downtown to not completely disrupt, yet close enough to get to via points North and South
    • Along future streetcar route
    • Reopen ferry service from the points south and the islands to stadium
    • Boat-slips for nominal club memberships/public ship viewings
    • Enhancement of the harbor / waterfront area
    • A destination connection between Pawtuxet and DownCity
    • Because European Football is cooler than American Football

    Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA and others like it come to mind.
    Though I would envision a smaller ProvRev Stadium along the harbor and angled parallel to the waters edge and the avenue.

    Aren’t the Allens Ave warehouses slated for demo?

    Providence Harbor > Gaspee > Revolution > New England Revolution Stadium > Providence

  • While it may sound good on paper, stadiums are a huge drain on resources and generally a waste when all things are considered. The Dunk anyone?
    Why create something new instead of using the space we already have?

    A better idea would be to use the Pawsox stadium as a soccer field when the Sox aren’t playing.

  • No offense, Jack, but it says right in the article that the Kraft’s are looking for a dedicated soccer stadium.

    Even if McCoy were suitable to soccer (it’s not), I think that would be a non-starter in terms of the actual question of luring the Revs here.

  • Nice little pipedream, that video. But the way Kraft stood up Rhode Island in the past has to leave a bad taste in your mouth, thinking about this prospect. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice …

  • I am a season ticket holder for the Rev’s and for several years we have been told that they will be building an urban soccer specific stadium. It seems that they have had as much trouble getting available properties in Boston Metro, as they have with getting media attention. This would be quite a steal for providence to get a Revs stadium built, MLS has had a lot of growth in the past 5 years, and it’s Major League Exposure. I would like to see a stadium like the one they just upgraded in Portland in Providence, it’s a small footprint, 20k seat Stadium.
    Here are some locations where I think they could put it on
    -Allens ave (as mentioned)
    -Kinsley Ave and Dean
    -Old Shaws Plaza on Pawtucket boarder
    But who would pay for a $100-200 mil stadium, well Kraft should have extra cash from that other investment, and after that video he owes us.

  • I’m annoyed I’m the only person who voted a straight no. Sports stadiums are great for ribbon cutting ceremonies, but they depress tax revenues and tend to be unwalkable monoliths. Why pay Kraft to build an urban renewal monolith that’s only going to be used 17 times a year?

  • Shaws plaza at the Pawtucket line seems like a great idea (is there enough room?); it would that bring that site full circle: wasn’t football played there in the late 1800’s before the bicycle cyclodrome? Perhaps the sears building site could be integrated to form a multipurpose sports / entertainment facility providing added parking. Wasn’t there a conflict recently due to a lack of playing fields in Pawtucket for private / public high schools?

  • JWU is building an athletic complex at fields point. If packaged with that it’s a no brainer.

  • In regards to the “17 times a year” statement, there have been international exhibition matches played at their current stadium and those would do better if they were in Providence as opposed to anywhere else. My parents, aunts, and uncles went there to see a Portuguese team play (my mom’s favorite team), but have never gone for a MLS game, so I think that there’s a much bigger market for soccer games than just Revolution matches. If there was a dedicated soccer stadium in Providence, with such a large soccer-loving populace within the nearby vicinity, I think it would draw more international matches.
    I think this stadium stands to be better suited to a Providence location than a Patriots stadium would have been. People will turn out for Patriots games no matter what, so it would have to be north of Boston for turnouts to start being affected by the location. On the other hand, Providence is the ideal location for a soccer stadium because there is a demographic here that I don’t think is likely to go to Foxboro for a game, but would very likely turn out for something closer. Between the New Bedford to Providence corridor alone, there is a huge soccer fan base. That’s not mentioning all other points nearby. Tie that in with a large population in the immediate area that do not own cars but would gladly take the bus to go see an international team play, and I think you have a hot spot in the region for international teams to come to. Hell, I’d start going to soccer games if they were in Providence.

  • I would love to see a soccer stadium built in Providence. They have the demographic to support it, there are plenty of other groups/events that could use it, and it would be fantastic for Providence to have a professional franchise.

    A 20,000 seat stadium doesn’t have to be a “monolith” – it could be a community asset, where local schools could have big games there, whether high schools or colleges. It could include office and retail and spur more development in whichever neighborhood it gets built.

    I vote for Allens Ave because it’s close enough to the city but not right in the middle where things would get too congested; also that part of town could use something to spur more development; I think the waterfront would be great for ferry transit as someone mentioned, and also you could have some nice shots during the telecasts!

  • I think the Shaws plaza would be a perfect location. Easy highway access, far enough out of Downtown to not hose things when there is a game, and it is a suburban-ish area, so its not like its eating up a huge amount of street front real estate that could be better used. There is a lot of under utilized space over there and I think it could also support retail/restaurants, etc… This is a good fit. That being said, there is no way in hell that Kraft would build here.

  • Relying on ethnic demographics as opposed to traditional sports demographics has proven to be a mistake MLS has made in the past with a few franchises. Having said that, Providence DOES have the right demographics for that- they want young males in urban areas and we could provide that. However, that is mostly a concern for the Krafts and not the public. Unfortunately, they have marketed to families primarily in Foxboro over the years.

    Wherever it is, make sure there is a bus stop and a train or light rail station in a very close proximity.

    A good example to learn from would be the soccer stadium recently built in Harrison, NJ, between Newark and Jersey City. The stadium is in an area of the region that loves its soccer, and is perfectly situated in regard to public transportation. The stadium itself is amazing, while I imagine a similar home for the Revs would be more modest in many ways. The project started before the big economic downturn, so the projects that were to go along with it (condos, retail space, infrastructure improvements) have only just been started on.

    Being a “major league” market would be a good thing for Providence. It is a minor league town right now with the PawSox, PBs and Providence College as the big local teams. MLS is on the upswing (Providence Equity is buying into one of their marketing arms as an investment) and Providence could reap the benefits of getting in relatively early in this venture. Luring the Revs is much cheaper than trying to attract an expansion franchise or an already-established franchise further away.

    With the climate around anything requiring public financing the way it is right now, I think a deal could be brokered that is more favorable to the city than past agreements with professional franchises.

    The biggest thing to remember in all of this is that the Krafts have treated the Revs like a red-headed stepchild when it comes to their other entertainment ventures (Pats, Patriot Place) and I seriously doubt their desire to fund a new stadium in any ubran area.

  • I like the Shaw’s Plaza idea if they have the room. I drive by it everyday and wonder who would want to move into that hole in the ground. Its pretty much empty. There would probably have to be some reconfiguration of the Smithfield Ave exit. Get Peter Pan involved in that. The round-about way they go in and out of their terminal is crazy and they could act as a bus hub for charters. The location also works with the new Rabid Bus Route…make a “stadium stop” for game days.

  • OK.First I’m an optomist,truly we could pull this off.Providence is amongst the largest metros without a pro franchise Columbus, Las Vegas,Raliegh-Durham,Louisville come to mind.Now we must think that Buffalo is shiinking& Cinncinnati is laying off teachers because Hamilton county was too generous with teams that were threatening to move,2 stadiums by the way. A soccer stadium with a smaller footprint sounds doable though.Allens ave sounds right.In the years ahead Providence must think US instead of 1st tier New England.I’ve been thinking along these lines since we became a film capital and even fielded tv series’.Rhode Islanders, I hope, have shed their inferiority tendencies by now.Just bring up Travel & Leisure best US cities.Best water,most efficient airport,restaurants the list is gaining ground.
    The only reservation I have is the Cinncinnati story.Even knowing that city seems to breed criminals off the field.

  • Shaws Plaza would be a good site. You could set one side of the stadium against the bluff and directly enter the upper stands a few easy steps from North Main.

    Not a cent of public of public funding, loan guarantees or the like please, unless the facility is available free or at nominal cost to local leagues and school teams when it is not in use by the Revolution.

    It is a scandal that perfectly good taxpayer subsidized ice sits idle at the Dunk most hours of most weeks, yet Providence schools have no hockey.

  • Providence should be aggressively courting the Revs to come to the city and set up shop. We are one of the largest cities without a team; we have the space, the fans, great restaurants, commuter rail service and possibly a streetcar–it is too perfect and too too great of an opportunity to pass up. Why go to Boston and be overshadowed by a metropolis that already has it’s fair share of major league sports teams? In Providence, and Rhode Island at large, the Revs would be #1, a source of great pride, and an economic stimulus… Would it ever happen? I’m not sure. I haven’t heard of any movement on the part of Chaffee, Taveras, Jim Bennet or Keith Stokes, nor of any interest from the 195 commission. Someone needs to take notice or this opportunity will pass, and we will find ourselves in the same place we find ourselves now with the casino issue.

  • I like the idea of having a stadium built on Allens Ave., right by the water. Providence would be a perfect fit for the Revs. Wasn’t Gillette built without using taxpayers’ money? I think the Krafts could privately fund building a soccer stadium here in Providence. I think with that happening, perhaps the Krafts would have a better shot at building a casino here than in Foxboro.

  • I wish that those with political clout in Providence and Rhode Island realized that MLS is only getting bigger. We have a chance to get involved while the league is still relatively young and there is a lot of opportunity for growth. Not only will it be great for business and civic pride, but it would also up the stakes for serious investment in public transit. In the end, it would make Providence a more livable and lively city.

  • We need a letter writing campaign immediatley to make sure Providence and RI are included as an option for this investment.

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