FOXBORO — If Robert Kraft has his way, the New England Revolution will be leaving Foxboro.
The Kraft Group is in negotiations with the University of Massachusetts to move the soccer team out of Gillette Stadium and into a new stadium at the former Bayside Expo Center off Interstate 93 in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday, citing anonymous sources.
Like many Major League Soccer team owners, Kraft has for years sought to build a smaller stadium specifically for soccer. Previous stadium proposals have focused on Boston’s waterfront as well as Somerville and Revere.
Kraft is now discussing the Bayside Expo land with UMass, which bought the property for $18.7 million in 2010, after the center went into foreclosure, the Globe said. The school is now razing the former convention and exposition center as part of its plan to expand the UMass Boston campus at the site.
A stadium would offer UMass a source of revenue at a time when the university system has nearly reached the limit in its ability to borrow money for major expansions, the Globe said. UMass Boston is also developing a sports management program, which could benefit from access to a professional team.
The Revolution is one of a handful of soccer teams in the country that do not have their own stadiums. Kraft is seeking to build a venue that would accommodate 20,000 to 25,000 fans, similar to other MLS teams. Gillette, with close to 67,000 seats, is too big for MLS audiences, and many seats have to be blocked off.
The Kraft family has a longstanding relationship with UMass. Robert Kraft holds a 2007 honorary degree from UMass Boston. His late wife, Myra, served as a trustee from 1994 to 1998, and there is a scholarship fund named in her honor at UMass Lowell. UMass Amherst plays some of its football games at Gillette Stadium, and UMass President Martin Meehan is a Patriots season ticket holder.