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A Unique Approach Stadium-Building

When you hear news of a sports franchise wanting a new stadium built, you think of epic battles involving investors, municipal governments, and the city's inhabitants. The New Jersey Nets wanting a new home in Brooklyn comes to mind, as does the perennial rumor of a football stadium on Manhattan's West Side. Major League Soccer has an entirely different approach: hit-up suburbs of major cities where nothing particularly interesting happens. Ask local cities and towns to submit proposals to host the team's stadium; command funds from local governments and local investors by issuing bonds. For the New England Revolution, several cities and towns have reportedly made bids; Boston, the big town, is among them. But MLS is probably thinking more along the lines of how things transpired in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview, Illinois. Bridgeview is the Chicago Fire's new home; the winner of Chicago-area contest that began a few years ago. A dozen cities competed for the rights to host the team, advocacy groups were formed, and the communities' bid like they were running a political campaign, as Bridgeview Mayor Steve Landek said. Why all the fuss over a soccer stadium? Stadiums can be converted into concert venues, potentially bringing in more hotels, retail stores and restaurants. With 20,000 seats, the new Fire stadium will hold more than the village's 15,000-person population.

Read the whole story at The Boston Globe »

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