Krafts catch flak for favoring Patriots over Revolution

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Soccer fans in America often have a chip on their shoulder about football.  And for good reason.  Football is the dominant sport in the country, soccer isn’t.

Then again, soccer is boring.  Football isn’t.

It creates potential friction where an NFL team also owns a professional soccer team.  In New England, the Krafts are getting the brunt of some of that friction via fans of the soccer team the Krafts own.

Julian Cardillo of the Boston Globe (via SportsBusiness Daily) writes that “[i]t appears to many that the Revolution are the Kraft family’s second priority, rather than an equal investment, to the New England Patriots.”

If it appears that way, that appearance would be accurate.  The Patriots have become one of the elite franchises in the NFL, the premier professional sports league in the United States.  The Revolution are an also-ran, at best, in a league that is an also-ran, at best.

Revolution Brian Bilello seems to think that the griping comes from soccer’s anti-football bias.

“I think both the Kraft family and the Hunt family, because they have NFL sides as well, I think there’s a weird perception,” Bilello told Cardillo.  “Both families have been involved with the sport since the very beginning.  The fact that they’re involved in the NFL, that hurts them.”

Still, a Sports Illustrated poll of anonymous players pegged the Krafts as the worst owners in the MLS, and players like Thierry Henry and David Beckham have balked at playing on the FieldTurf at Gillette Stadium.

“There’s a lot of great things about having the Krafts as owners,” Bilello said.  “They’ve supported this league.  They do things behind the scenes not just for the Revolution, but for the sport of soccer in this country.”

None of that matters to the average soccer fan, who can’t understand why Americans haven’t embraced the sport the way the rest of the world has.

Meanwhile, we can’t understand why the rest of the world hasn’t embraced football the way Americans have.

70 responses to “Krafts catch flak for favoring Patriots over Revolution

  1. Let’s see, one of the 2 teams generates hundreds of millions of dollars every year, one doesn’t.

    I used to work at a large club in Patriot Place. The Revolution games are lucky if they get 10,000 fans. I could always easily get in and out of work when there was a Revs game.

    On Pats game day ? Forget about it. Absolutely jammed every game.

    With the differences in merch sales, attendance at much higher ticket prices for the Pats games, $40 to park for the Pats, free for the Revs, etc etc, how could anyone even begin to thing the Pats wouldn’t be the first priority.

  2. Anybody who says “soccer is boring” doesn’t know anything about soccer. World Cup? Ever heard of it?

    Now American soccer is boring when compared to the world stage because the the talent level is below par. But, over the next 10-20 years soccer will see a huge surge in the US because of the kids growing up playing it now.

    Then the US will be able to compete on the national stage and then watch out. It will be one of the more popular sports during our lifetime.

    As to the Krafts, fans should be thankful they invested in the Revolution and growing soccer in the US. Clearly, their bread and butter franchise right now is the Pats.

  3. Hey, it’s another “IT’S NOT FOOTBAWWWL!” trolling piece from Florio.

    I’m sure NBC won’t have an issue with one of their writers calling soccer “boring”. Not like NBC just paid a boat load of money to cover the English Premier League across all platforms or anything. NBC doesn’t have to worry about bringing dedicated soccer fans over to their networks to watch domestic and international soccer leagues that competitors had a stronghold on over over a decade, and is basically their bedrock of NBC Sports Network for 10 months out of the year starting this August.

    Nope, nothing like that.

  4. I’m not sure how Kraft is as an owner of his MLS team, but I would be upset if my team was ran poorly, regardless of how many sports teams the owner owned.

  5. @tjacks7


    “But, over the next 10-20 years soccer will see a huge surge in the US because of the kids growing up playing it now”


  6. I say this as a football lover above soccer, but the sport you state is boring is the most popular sport in the world, but american football is played mainly only in the states…not saying your opinion is wrong, or that you shouldnt have it, but you should realize MOST of the world think soccers way less boring than football.

  7. Anyone who thinks soccer is boring should watch the championship playoff highlights of Leicester v Watford last week. The equivalent of a team missing a FG in the last second and it being returned for a TD

  8. a couple of things:
    1. NFL team could build a stadium on Martha’s Vineyard & draw 80000 fans to the 10 or less even it holds in a calendar year.
    2. before New England soccer fans figured out that the revolution were the red headed step child the team drew 20000 plus fans to the boondocks for games.
    3. when Major League Soccer changed their marketing tactics in 2001 & 2002 to a more counter culture focus, the revolution were left in the dust because the kraft family didn’t care. they simply wanted an additional tenant for a cavernous Stadium thats its empty 90 % of the year.

    while forward-thinking metro areas like Seattle Portland Philadelphia New York Vancouver Montreal Kansas City were busy building a culture that bred full stadiums the kraft family was busy trying to invest in an industry at its absolute highest pinnacle while burning bridges in its start up company with huge potential for growth.

  9. That’s not how rev fans feel they know pats are number 1 and they dont have a promblem with that they understand that for obvious monetary reasons.But they are upset with the Kraft family because although great NFL owners, in MLS they are like the clippers owner, probably the second cheapest owner in MLS. They refuse to pay for a soccer stadium which almost every MLS team has, never invest in players, and have been awful for years and the krafts have done this for years. That is why they are mad EVERYBODY knows pats are number 1 they just want some level of commitment like every other fan no matter the sport.

  10. As a fan of both sports, though I prefer Football over soccer I think the main reason it’s not popular in the USA is the quality of play. And admit it football can be boring too, if im watching a game with two teamsI don’t care about I change the channel frequently waiting for my team to start their game. How can you expect people to like a sport that doesn’t put the top players on the field, when comparing the MLS to other leagues like Barclays Premiere League or the Spanish league it’s like forcing an NFL fan to watch a semi pro league below Arena League standards or watching a Turkish basketball league over the NBA of course you don’t want to watch it cause it sucks

  11. Most Americans don’t like soccer – we get it. Don’t care. I like soccer. I enjoy watching it. I don’t care if you don’t. I don’t find what sport you like and troll those threads. blah blah blah.

    The real story here, though, is the Revolution are drawing poorly and not having good mass transit to games is killing attendance. The Krafts obviously want to keep the Revolution at Gillette, but it’s hurting the franchise.

    They should move the team or find a venue closer to Boston, because Foxboro is about the worst place for a 2nd or 3rd tier pro soccer league to be played due to its location.

  12. Fair comment but the quality of play in MLS is unfortunately under-rated.

    Unfortunately, certain sections of the American fans suffer from unjustified elitism. They will spend hours watching an okay BPL game between two mid-table teams, but refuse to watch a top MLS match, simply because it is MLS, when the MLS game is actually superior.

    The American media that actually bothers to cover soccer suffers from the same sort of snobbism.

  13. After Goodell kills football, Kraft can watch his Revolution investment explode.

  14. No serious Revolution fan is arguing that the Patriots shouldn’t be Priority #1 for the Krafts. That said, they aren’t good MLS owners.

    They’ve got a Team President whose two main qualifications for the job were that he played DIII soccer in college, and he used to run the Patriots Pro Shop. Their GM is a former Revolution player who had never even been a scout before he was named Director of Player Personnel. Their Head Coach is another former player who at the time of his hiring, had never been even an assistant coach at any level of soccer, and who was paying his bill by working for Morgan Stanley when he wasn’t the team’s color commentator on their TV broadcasts. The team’s Director of Marketing doesn’t even have a Marketing degree.

    They consistently have one of the lowest payrolls in the league. There are several individuals in MLS that earn more per year than the entire Revolution roster. They consistently fail to sign the maximum number of players they’re allowed to sign. The FieldTurf at Gillette was so bad earlier this year that FIFA nearly stopped sanctioning the facility for professional soccer. They traded one of the best players in team history last summer, and the Krafts couldn’t even be bothered to put a generic quote in the team’s press release wishing him well in his new destination. In fact, I follow the Revolution pretty closely, and I couldn’t tell you the last time either Bob or Johnathan Kraft spoke two words in public about the Revolution.

    I guess all this is their prerogative. But as a New England soccer fan, don’t tell me I have to like it.

    As great as the Krafts have been for the Patriots, they’ve been that bad for the Revolution. Worst owners in MLS? Yeah, they’ve earned that.

  15. seahawksteven777, not only is Football > Soccer but ZZZZ > Soccer.

    Also to those who say soccer will experience a huge surge in the U.S. once all the kids who are playing it now grow up…..sorry, but I’m 40 and I’ve been hearing that since I was in grade school. There was a big push in the 70’s with Pele playing here and another when the US women did well a decade or so in the Olympics (or World Cup or whatever it was) but it never lasts. Not only is (American) football a superior sport, but more importantly it is a superior TV sport. Soccer should focus on trying to overtake Hockey. Doubt that will happen in my lifetime, but it at least is in the realm of the possible. Forget about King Football and his lesser subjects (Baseball and Basketball).

  16. tjacks7 says:
    May 16, 2013 6:52 PM
    Anybody who says “soccer is boring” doesn’t know anything about soccer. World Cup? Ever heard of it?

    Now American soccer is boring when compared to the world stage because the the talent level is below par. But, over the next 10-20 years soccer will see a huge surge in the US because of the kids growing up playing it now.


    1) There is a Cricket World Cup too. Does that means it’s exciting?

    2) Soccer has been the most popular youth sport for nearly 3 decades. And soccer supporters have been making the same “huge surge” in soccer popularity claim for about the same amount of time. Still waiting.

  17. I disagree that soccer is boring, but it’s pretty obvious that soccer doesn’t make the same amount of money as football does in America.

  18. I don’t think the issue is that the Pats are his top priority. In fact, for the most part we are okay with it. Without the Pats there would be no Revs, we get that.

    However, we look around MLS and want what others have. The Revolution have gone from, perhaps, one of the two or three best teams in MLS to one of the worst. You mention them as “an also-ran” and they are. Kraft makes sure the Pats are never an also-ran, that’s all we want from him for the Revs.

    I’m okay with the Revs not having a stadium of their own IF they can put a good product on the pitch.

  19. He owns the New England Patriots. He gave his life for the Patriots and he has been rewarded with alot of championships and, “STRAIGHT UP CASH HOMIE!” He probably doesn’t hate soccor, I don’t hate soccor. But AMERICAN football has given him more is all. Him being the owner of the Patriots is the best thing to ever happen to that team. In America, soccor is just not important but outside people die for it! Kraft is a football boy and I and the rest of the Pats nation wouldn’t want it any other way! Thank Robert Kraft for the great years before and the ones ahead!

  20. Okay, let me try this again. The average MLS game outdrew BOTH the NHL and the NBA last year. Yes, the point of comparison is not perfect. But why does MLS not receive the same kind of coverage as those sports in mainstream US media? Because large commercial interests prefer the perceived status quo. Soccer has already arrived in North America.

  21. Stiller43 says:
    May 16, 2013 7:04 PM
    I say this as a football lover above soccer, but the sport you state is boring is the most popular sport in the world

    Everyone makes this statement and never gets challenged on it. While soccer is no doubt more popular around the world than football, the implication that the US is the only country in the world where soccer is not the most popular sport is a fallacy.

    Here is a partial list of all of the countries where soccer is NOT the #1 sport:

    United States
    New Zealand

    Add up the populations of all of those countries and tell me again how everyone but Americans love soccer.

  22. Earth to tjacks… kids have played soccer forever in the US. Everyone plays in youth leagues here. The best athletes will still play basketball, baseball and football because that’s where the money is.

  23. If you are a fan of a team you want the owner to be committed to winning. Kraft is at the top as an NFL owner, however, he doesn’t carry that over to his MLS team. This league had grown to a point where each team should have their own stadium. Yes, soccer haters, the league has grown hugely over the past decade. Just take look at a Seattle game and see how dedicated their fan base is. MLS will never be as big as the NFL, but that is not the point. Soccer was, is, and always be the world’s most popular sport. Look at it this way– soccer has grown as a sport in the USA, yet, the NFL can’t seem to grow outside of the USA.

  24. Patriots generate more revenue. I’m sure they are run as separate entities. It isn’t good biz to take from Peter to pay Paul.

    Investment in the Revolution will be commensurate with its revenue stream.

  25. tjacks7 says: May 16, 2013 6:52 PM
    But, over the next 10-20 years soccer will see a huge surge in the US because of the kids growing up playing it now.
    Uh huh, they were saying the same thing 20 years ago yet soccer is just as painfully boring as it was 2 decades ago and 95% of americans still don’t know (or even care) there’s a US soccer league. They should pipe it into prisons to cut down on repeat offenders, that is if it doesnt violate the cruel and unusual punishment laws.

    I’m a pats fan and the ONLY reason I knew there was even a soccer team in foxboro is because of a newscast about the crap condition of the field before they switched it to shredded rubber or whatever it is a few years ago.

  26. @eatitfanboy

    Your list of countries where soccer is not the most popular sport is incorrect.

    Yes, baseball was once the most popular sport in Japan, but no longer. Japanese is the defining power in Asia and Japanese players are currently playing in all of the top leagues. And the country’s domestic league is the best in the region. Let us not forget that Japan hosted the world cup in 2002 where it reached the quarterfinals.

    Soccer is the unquestioned No.1 sport in Russia. Lots of money involved in the game and one of the better leagues in Europe.

    In Canada, soccer has twice as many players as Hockey.

    Yes, cricket rules in India, but BPL coverage draws hundreds of millions each weekend. The same goes for China, whose league, while corrupt, is starting to draw top talent.

  27. So, what are you saying here?

    That the Revolution fans want Kraft to hire the biggest cheat in all of sports to lead their team?

    That the Revolution want three tainted championships just like the Pats? That they want to be known league-wide as the ***Revolution?

    That Boston wants to be known as “Asterisk City”? (Oh wait – that already happened).

    That the Revolution fans want their team to get beaten down on a semi-annual basis by Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin?

    That the team should heartlessly kick to the curb any players with medical issues like diabetes?

  28. Who cares? I have been hearing how soccer was up and coming since I was 6 (30+ years ago) and still hasn’t happened. 90% of the people in this country could not name a soccer team if their lives depended on it despite heavy investment by many parties and push by the networks. Everybody needs to just chill and realize that while the rest of the world worships at the soccer altar, most Americans do not. Under 4 months until CFB and NFL season and counting the days.

  29. I was going to add a snide remark about how lame soccer is. Looks like the soccer supporters made all their lame arguments before I could ridicule them.

  30. Soccer is boring!! How many shots on goal are there
    in an average soccer game? How bout those exciting
    country vs country games that end 1-1.

  31. Is this not the time to mention that ESPN studies suggest that soccer is the 2nd-most popular sport in the US for 12-24 year olds and that Lionel Messi is among the 2o most popular athletes in the country?

  32. To all those insisting soccer isn’t boring: I once saw a highlight of a World Cup game (that’s a pretty big effing deal, right? Like the nfl playoffs kinda?) where the final tally was a barn burning 0-0 tie. There’s no playoff game that should be played to a 0-0 tie.

    “Hey did you see that thrilling awesome game last night that ended 0-0?” Said no man ever.

  33. The Kraft family owns:

    A company that makes processed food products
    A company that makes paper products, primarily to package its processed food products
    An NFL franchise
    An MLS franchise
    A stadium to house the aforementioned franchises

    One of these makes a lot less money than the others.

  34. Soccer is not as complex and complicated as American football. The only reason soccer is more popular is because it is older and globalized and football isn’t.

  35. @wolfgang:

    If the the most popular sport in a country was determined by how many people actually played it, soccer would be the #1 sport in the United States. Clearly, that is not the standard most people are referring to when they talk about “popularity” of a sport. The reference point is how many people count themselves as fans of a sport.

    Go ahead and take a poll of the general public in Japan, Canada, and China of what their favorite sport is. I guarantee you soccer wins in none of them. After doing a little further research, I will grant that I was apparently wrong about Russia.

    And what does hosting the World Cup have to do with it? Pretty sure the US hosted the World Cup too.

  36. Florio, by your reasoning then it would be fine for Glazer to have the Bucs play second fiddle to the most valued sports franchise in the world. Since he owns Manchester United and they actually win their league he can just tinker with the Bucs but shouldn’t be called out when they suck.

  37. Oh guys and/or girls. Let me explain.

    Soccer has grown in popularity in the US over the last 30 years. Today, more than ten years ago, parents are more inclined to point their children toward soccer. That will continue. Fact.

    The problem is that the elite talent goes overseas. I met a kid recently who agreed to play one season at a well known US university prior to joing a pro club in Germany.

    The US is a huge grooming for foreign talent. That will continue to grow as today’s soccer players have kids and then they have kids, etc.

    The major obstacles for US soccer is keeping talent in the US and building the MLS. It doesn’t help that the US targets washed up foreigners like Beckham and Henry to be the face of the league. It also doesn’t help that the pay isn’t (yet) aligned with other major sports leagues. We will see that in our lifetime though, and it will be an exciting time.

  38. One night many years ago, my very drunk friend told our soccer-loving friend that soccer sucks.

    Our soccer-loving friend, obviously frustrated by constant ridicule of his favorite sport then looked Peter in the eye and said: “Why Peter? Tell me why it sucks?”

    Peter looked back at him all cross eyed and wobbly and finally said: “One nothing…nothing nothing…one to one”

    A sober man could not have made a better case in so few words.

  39. Football is the best spectator sport in the world. You can be 5’8″ 180 lbs or 6’6″ 350 lbs and still be drafted in the first round. Strategically it is insanely diverse and virtually all other sports pale in comparison.

    In high school my team ran the option and we basically had one defensive alignment. And we were good. We met a squad in conference finals that ran full on spread offense that would make Chip Kelly blush along with a crazy one gap 3-4 scheme where gap responsibility went out the window and they just attacked and penetrated. We made so many adjustments that it felt like we weren’t even playing the same sport.

    We fought them hard to the finish and lost a heartbreaker when they strung together 3 consecutive insane trick plays, including a bubble screen throw back to the QB, on their final drive, which culminated in a successful fake field goal game winning touchdown. (we would have probably won if our unstopable star running back hadn’t torn his ACL in the 3rd quarter)

    Soccer is prehistoric in comparison. Sure it has a rich international history and I respect the hell out of a sport so many people are into. But it is boring as hell to watch for anyone who didn’t love playing it growing up.

  40. I say this as a football lover above soccer, but the sport you state is boring is the most popular sport in the world,

    Most popular why? Well it’s because most of those countries don’t have the space, financing, universities, equipment, infrastructure and on and on to support other sports like football. Soccer needs a ball and a field. That’s it.

    In countless news and/or sports stories I’ve seen from countless countries over the years the kids all play soccer in the streets. Many if not all are poor countries doing the best they can with what they have.

    Just my opinion of course but that’s why it’s played all over the world and because of that soccer nuts always use that phrase, most popular to describe it.

  41. As a soccer player/fan and a football fan, there is no doubt which team should be the Krafts’ priority.

    However, the Revs would benefit from a stadium of their own. Maybe if the Krafts want to be good owners they can find a way to make that happen.

  42. @ Wolfgang “In Canada, soccer has twice as many players as Hockey.”

    Are you high? There is not a self respecting Canadian anywhere that would say soccer is more popular in Canada than hockey.

    I’m sure more people played magic cards last year than football, but that doesn’t make a magic tournament more fun to watch than arena football.

    Canadians tried to take government action to block the Gretzky trade. Canadians think Ronaldo is a kind of pasta….

    If Canadians could trade their five or six MLS teams for three buffalo bills games, they would.

  43. Soccer is about as boring as baseball. Football is way better, followed closely by hockey in terms of excitement.

    Basketball is stuck in the middle somewhere because March Madness is so great. NBA, not so much.

  44. Soccer is not boring, it just needs to be fixed, heres my top 10 ways to make it more appealing.

    1) Find a way to create more scoring chances ( hockey has exciting 1-0 games)
    2) need more scoring off corner kicks
    3) stop the faking of injuries (it’s worse than basketball player flops)
    4) get some cheerleaders
    5) add some penalties like 5 mins for tripping
    6) 4 quarters instead of two halves
    7) get rid of that ridiculous throw in (who cares one hand vs two)
    8) allow offsides (need more breakaways)
    9) allow for frequent subs, players should be able to go in and out
    10) give more points for goals scored with headers or bicycle kicks
    11) bonus – play the game during half time of a football game!

  45. The reason american football does not grow worldwide is the cost of outfitting a team..The cost for soccer is very low and i think the average amount for and NFL player is close to $1,000. No country in say.. africa…could afford to do this.. having said that… you would be amazed at the numner of people in other countries that like to watch american football… and my last comment would be… the super bowl drew the largest t.v. audience worldwide than any other game … either soccer or cricket or syncrhonized swimming..

  46. Now American soccer is boring when compared to the world stage because the the talent level is below par. But, over the next 10-20 years soccer will see a huge surge in the US because of the kids growing up playing it now.
    Soccer fans have been saying this for 20 years. I watched some of the World Cup games. They’re no more exciting than MLS games.

  47. I live in Boston and am a fan of both teams. I have never heard anyone complain about the Krafts ownership of the Revs. They aren’t good right now but have gone to the championship game not that long ago. They are young and they’ll get better…but duh, if course the patriots are going to be a priority, the franchise is worth 100x more.

  48. Soccer is popular among kids in the U.S. and Canada for one reason — schools and associations like it because it is INEXPENSIVE TO PLAY.

    Thats also why the game is popular worldwide. All you need to play is a ball, so its great for poor people. And unlike basketball, which also doesnt require equipment, normal-sized people arent at a disadvantage.

    So soccer’s popularity isnt because the game is exciting — but because its EASILY ACCESSIBLE, especially to the poor. Its supporters should at least admit that, and not pretend it can compete with other major North American sports in terms of excitement.

  49. Watching a soccer game is better than Ambien for sleeplessness. I admit soccer players are great athletes, but the game is boring to watch. Even golf is more exciting.

  50. All the soccer fans should go be butthurt somewhere else. Many of you keep pointing out how popular soccer is in the rest of the world only to avoid admitting that by comparison it is a smegma smear on the jockstraps of football in the USA. For God’s sake the NFL employs soccer players to the most laughable position in the sport (take a guess) to avoid the risk of injuring any of the actual talent. Keep your injury-faking, low-to-no scoring game of hot potato and I’ll keep the gridiron glory.

  51. @eatitfanboy
    Cricket has more viewers around the world than football – fact. Just because you find it boring doesn’t mean the sport is boring. It just means that it’s played at a woeful standard in the US.

  52. All the Krafts care about is money. You take a productive defensive tackle and cut him because he has diabetes. Yeah they care. Ask the people around Foxborough that they’ve shaken down. No more parking at your friends house for games so they can shake you down for 40-50 dollars extra. Wait until the old man dies, then you’ll really see it.

  53. guarantee all the soccer haters here are FF geeks. Sorry guys, soccer scores aren’t meant to be 9-8.

  54. Soccer fans are clearly delusional. They’ve been acting as if we’re missing out on something for 40 years now.
    It’s the “world’s favorite sport.” Well that’s fine and dandy; I genuinely don’t care of the world likes or appreciates American football. If they do, that’s great! But I don’t expect my parents to like oir appreciate Pearl Jam either.
    Why does anyone care if America fully embraces soccer or not? It just doesn’t matter.
    I definitely like the pageantry and tradition of the World Cup but in the end, its still just soccer….with three real scoring opportunities every half hour or so.

  55. I grew up playing and watching football. I have attended numerous NFL and college games (including Rose Bowl games). I discovered soccer as an adult. Soccer is the most popular sport on the planet and rapidly growing in popularity in this country because it is the most exciting sport on the planet. People that have played the sport appreciate the amount of skill and athleticism that it takes to play the sport at the highest levels. A typical football game has 11 minutes of actual playing time and 67 minutes of standing around per a study that was done in 2010. Football is very boring compared to soccer.

  56. It’s no sense trying to change or influence the calcified and ignorant minds of the soccer haters, or the Eurosnobs, so I won’t attempt to do this. But here are some facts:
    Kraft is not a good MLS owner and obviously doesn’t care that he has a bad name in that business venture.

    Soccer will not explode with popularity, rather, it will keep growing in this country, slowly and inexorably.

    No one can predict how big it will get, but potentially it could be much larger than anyone dreamed.

    The tipping point has already happened, unbeknownst to the ignorant.

    It ain’t going away in this country.

    It ain’t done growing yet.

    The haters will have to live out their lives having to hear about the sport they despise because, like I said, it’s not leaving.

    Soccer is hardly boring. It’s the best sport. No timeouts and the word “goal” really means something in soccer because they are so hard to do.

    Soccer have the fittest athletes.

    Soccer haters love crappy beer.

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