I have just returned from Boston after spending a couple of days locked up in a social media conference. Ironically the biggest revelation for me in this conference had nothing to do with what any one of the speakers said but rather the venue.
The conference was held at the Gillette Stadium (no connection with George Gillett) in Foxborough, just 21 miles South of Boston. The stadium is owned by the Kraft family who also own the New England Revolution Major League Soccer football team and the New England Patriots the helmet (American) football team. The state of the art stadium was opened in 2002 and seats 68,756. The whole complex also includes a shopping and restaurant area called Patriot Place that is also owned by the Krafts.
Under the Krafts both teams have been able to achieve both on and off field successes. The company is well run, profitable and successful. The New England Patriots have been dominant and have won the Super Bowl 3 times since the Krafts took over. Looking at the way the operation is run you can see why this is happening. The Krafts do not miss any opportunity to market their brands, even the hand-drier in the toilets is printed with the Patriot colours and offered for sale, check out the picture below.
The Liverpool Connection:
It is no secret that the Krafts were interested in purchasing Liverpool way before George Gillett & Tom Hicks came in the picture. Rick Parry did pay a visit to this same stadium and also made some comments about it. The New England Revolution’s coach is former Red Steve Nicol and he has an excellent working relationship with the Krafts. Robert Kraft was concerned about the fact that there was no player salary-cap in the Premier League and his interest in Liverpool faded. A few months later Liverpool was sold, not to Kraft but to another two Americans who unfortunately do not manage the club with the interest of the supporters in mind.
What about an owner who is a fan?
I really hate to admit it but the days of an owner who is a fan and can afford to spend multi-millions on players might be behind us. Football is becoming a global business and these investors buying out clubs are doing so because they see potential for a huge return on their investment.
So this is the future of football, the days when a middle class family can easily afford a season ticket are gone. As supporters all we can hope for is that the custodian of our club is someone who at least will win us trophies and not turn the club into a boneyard where they tear it apart and sell off the bits and pieces. The Krafts have found the magic formula, by winning trophies they are keeping their fans happy who in return reward with huge profits.