Sep 19, 2013|
New England Revolution President Brian Bilello joins me to discuss all things Revs. When will they be getting a new stadium, will the mainstream media take MLS serious, and the impact FIFA the video game has had on soccer here in the states.
Transcript - will not be 100% accurate
-- -- again to another edition of W the guys soccer cast on that kitchen you can follow me on Twitter young men WEEI today. -- very special guest someone who have been wanted to talk to for awhile someone who can answer that. Brought long running question I've been having throughout this summer witches. How do we grow the -- stronger brand here in the United States and capitalize on the growing popularity of soccer in the states and today. -- the president of the New England Revolution Brian hello Brian good morning thank you for joining me. It well just give the court background on Brian here he. Went MIT played soccer at MIT and apparently. Has an MIT tattoo. That's the rumor. Yes I -- my wife and -- cheat sheet -- she she convinced me the do it. Well I think that might make you the only person in the world who has an MIT tentative. The only way you can edit it out there. There is so brining you had spent time down -- -- number of years working for the patriots and now. And then become the CEO of the revs and now the president of the -- describe for us how of those how that process -- those steps you took to get to where you are now. Well I and that's glow on the doing not a consultant for about five years in and not that's a profession where -- do a lot of business training a lot of different types of businesses a lot of different chat with the business. And in that process I was able to expect the sports -- Italy's senate battle of the MIT. Always been a sports fan my whole life and was able to turn -- it's an opportunity with with with the crowd here in New England. Working on a bunch of different aspects of of of sports business for them. They used to be rescued ticket holder Bakken back in the early -- -- last. And so you know -- though is to invite my passions of the opportunity to come work here but it wasn't penalized team to learn a lot about sports business from. -- -- about sports organization in the country. I was just fantastic from -- and and through that process. You know it would keep working on things and and and wind up in this position heroes in the -- which -- pitcher -- -- as good job is like never. You said in an interview with the yes sports business daily back in March that Robert Kraft has been the biggest influence on your career what what exactly have you learned from him. Yeah I think that the biggest thing from from properties. In the importance of your relationships. And the importance of just doing the right things with all the relationships you have. I mean that integrity as yours -- relates to to your relationships in the day. You know people can can can -- to spend their money with anyone and -- you work it can choose to work with anyone. But -- comes out to work with people that I trust that trust deal. Not that -- tried to manage the businesses to them. That's where I'd try and match relations and if they try to be out there order and much like cancers being on Twitter. While RC and lots and having mobile that's your stadium more. Out of the places where I can you talk with can't come ask me questions. Some of those things that relates to the players -- things like that it it it's not always get answers to some of those questions by. Always try to be available and an answer as much they can for. You've you've had a perfect opportunity to learn from Robert Kraft and you've gone down a similar road as him being a former. Season ticket holder and it is now running the organization yourself so. And that's got to help content coming from a similar background being a fan first. And then being. And management. I think it's I won't say you have to have that that's happening most people are fans of some team. Right now -- sports match and so they they have that I think for me there's that much more. Passions in. And love for for College Soccer but specifically for the revolution I think for me it. It almost -- -- exactly where it's like you know like I know what it's like to sit in the sport because I have that's not afford -- -- -- tickets for itself. From my perspective. It really helps around you because as you can get away from the idea that you understand -- what's going on under the hood. But from their perspective the only kind of what's on the outside the -- outperforming. It's really I think he gets stuck some times. To focus on what's going on inside because that's where you are where you're living orders that would be out to be able to have that -- prospective understand what the fans are experiencing and how to how to really make and have the best experience possible both on and off field. All right speaking of the fans experiences there's been. There's been some chatter about potentially. Building a new soccer only or soccer focus stadium closer to the city -- -- the city with a -- bravado or something like that. Are there any plans for that to do we see that coming within the next couple of years. I I I believe strongly that we will have something to announce the next couple years on the could be soon and it could be a little later and not -- it. Where we're committed to getting -- project and we've we've we've thought from the beginning. That that project needs to be somewhere in the urban core Boston -- on the on -- on it. On the really opening up. So offered well last even more so in the minority I think we're doing fairly well but it is by. I think to take that real big next step touting that urban soccer -- is what's really really critical. I I completely agree I concede. How will help the development here in the urban areas surrounding boss -- included and I understand from having to go down to let all the time myself it's not the easiest thing in the world to do especially if you're an in Boston. Yeah I think it -- it's two things one has -- more people about -- -- it's just bigger population base bigger soccer page. But it got this young adult vibrant and days which is really driving the growth of not only -- the last of soccer in general this country right now. And so backed group of people really is focused around Boston. May have don't necessarily have their own transportation to the public transportation is is critical so if for us. Having arms -- facilities is certainly a big step for us to and that's really important -- -- by. Almost equally important is having that facility in the right location. And so the location has been. Critical piece of the equation for a. You just said something there a minute ago about. The growth of soccer. For. The use of America here and when I say that I mean you know I'm 25 -- mail. That area is it's growing very rapidly and it's becoming very popular but. Mean being 28 here working at WB I find it to be challenged all the time to trying to convey that message to. Other media members and that. It is growing very rapidly in that it's time you start taking it a little more seriously it's not a joke sport. It's a fantastic sport -- -- some of the best athletes in the world. When they get a start taking answers when it mainstream media gonna start taking them a lesson soccer in this country as a whole series. I think I've I think there's there's there's an age cap issue right now -- -- in general so. Well I would say the these very very very mainstream media. It states soccer extremely seriously if you look at a company like yesterday. -- Beat these company undertakings not very extremely seriously and BC Comcast right extremely spears is that the very very high levels. They're realizing that that soccer is not only coming but it authorities here. -- World Cup ratings. US men's national team games are eclipsing championship games for NHL NBA Major League Baseball. So I'm not try you look at nothing you've -- I'm not going consulate and look at patents today. Even when it's not gonna make it or talk is never gonna make it or. You know why he has -- and Jennings soccer down my throat while in what people watching -- woke -- -- that are watching the other major sports the United States to go. Soccer's here I think where there's a disconnect is probably not sort of -- here. But lots of local sports reporters. Or four -- -- -- like that that are you know frankly. Over the age of 35 and haven't experienced this sport themselves so I think what we have. In that generation I'm talking about that that's sort of eighteen to 35 year old generation most most people grew up with this sport play -- sport. Watching the sport at some level so when you think about soccer United States. We're pretty early our generational development company generation -- soccer. And that's what they've they've they've played in big numbers and the people could watch soccer on TV growing up I couldn't. Come on 38 years old there what is -- on television what I grew up playing the sport I arrival of the sport connect plated. Alison you've got folks are young just now 171618. You've got people who are in their twenties who grew up playing soccer be able to watch soccer on TV certainly leaving defeat for video game which you know. It's one of the most popular games United States. So all of these things are are contributing to a culture of these young adults do. Talked -- -- -- just another sport it is not a one of those sports that they like and that's why you connect with coming in -- I think of that generation continues to age you're not just have. Younger folks are just -- for the younger folks are gonna get older they're gonna still -- just thought for another generation of young folks are coming. I've thought about going down its its its salary. Well you mentioned just about to bring it up. But fifa the soccer game for bush every play Xbox -- whatever it is I know I personally play it from time to time. And to me and my perception is the of the soccer game. Might be the biggest contributing factor to the growth right now. It's become such a popular game it. It wins all the awards every year for best sports game of the year -- sells more copies than Madden does at this point. Spain do you do you see that same correlation that I pick up on at all. Yeah I mean it's a little it's a little. It's a little hat I'll I'll I'll say embarrassingly in the -- but it's a little past my generation but I I understand the video game. It has helped organize how many of these games are sold. How much times spoke spent engage in the video games. -- for folks and so yeah I think it's critically important for the sport in general. -- -- that activation we do a lot of things with EA around I came in our players can get serpent in the weeks as a couple guys like that and you know forgive me as very and they stumbled through that -- they had some sort of player of the week rating and pick up a pitcher on the web site in big player card showing their -- that week and how -- change and keep so. I know I think I was tired Diego at -- this year and haven't that was kind of a big deal for those guys -- her chances to receive that so. Yeah I think it's I think it's actually very important I think you'll continue to be important. And the fact that people like decade that they like -- -- like the sport I'd definitely the connection there. But you are Smart. The -- as you and you play video games that you know to this much if not more about an idea. So I didn't I'd get along time ago I used to play quite -- got to come out right. The -- remember making some sort of bad trade with the computer and getting today it's not on the -- Or for a couple of seasons as I do a durable play about move onto the. -- he has won a mile time there -- players I always can enjoy watching and just. The perceived effortless nature how we played yet who's playing so well news you know something else. OK so -- talked about. A new stadiums. Mainstream media and and you are are right because ESPN and NBC and fox have all taken it seriously. And it's great for us the fans as we get to watch far more than we ever got to watch before especially if for those were fans of English premiere league they -- to watch NBC all the time. And obviously. NBC Comcast world to get to watch the -- all the time. Do you use CU. An issue arising where you can watch what is perceived to be. The best league in the world as opposed to being able to watch the analysts -- a problem with people. Gravitating more toward that instead of our product here or does that help our product here. I think I think it's it. It helps edit -- couldn't hurt right I think I think it is an absolutely helps having. Other soccer are having the World Cup on having those competitions bombs that people can watch those and enjoy those as well. I definitely think that's important for the growth of the game the United States so. For sure. Those those those types of things can be very helpful. I think where it potentially hurts is that -- comes out that the US soccer fan. And I think at the league across the country -- we need every US soccer fan to really support. An analyst. -- so whether you're in Saint Louis then you're gonna exploit in the city of your team war started in New England you're gonna pick the -- team. I think it's important for people -- support US soccer to support this week if you look at the US national team today. And the last week -- go back fifteen years. There are a lot of guys who either or currently in MLS. Had a lot of analysts experience who want to -- our national teams so. The growth and then the last the development of players with an analyst with in now our academies systems is going to be crucial for the future of the US national team so. If you're a fan of the US national team. You may not know what do you -- -- of MLS and that's why I think we need the most support it that's completely come to games -- great but it it's not watching our nationally televised game is when -- if and when Iran and BC sports. That's equally critical for the growth of the sport the growth and -- so. But I would favorites for those and if you're saying that you're US soccer fans your preparation and -- -- -- and you know I I think what they're exceptions I think that's something where. Our league as well and I think we've proven that were consistently getting better at the quality of play getting better -- that's a lot of money. Not just some players today but it academies -- for the future of of of players for. For our league in the US national team so. In our league has -- equality is growing but we need the US soccer fans to be behind aliens as supportive you know frankly however they can. Well. David Beckham because Christ are coming over here for the galaxy end. It it seemed at the time is it was a big coup further analysts and you've seen some more players come over who has. Had established careers went beyond kind of the downturn of their professional career but they are still big names do you. Do you like that aspect do you like. Bringing in a stat was player's international players that still have strong name value may not have the same skills they wants to do you see value. To help build their -- that order should have been more focused on developing American players. I think from now I'm speaking its -- of more from our perspective. You know we last. You know few years have been really focused on developing young talent ourselves. Or finding other younger talent to bring on board that doesn't mean armed veteran players that we've also -- or like Jose this year I've got like that. We feel like there's a great opportunity to to develop young players. In our communities have guys like Diego guys like Scott Caldwell or -- system that's for us we think is is critical for the future. Frankly our future might be happening a little sooner than we even expect it here in New England. In terms of how much those guys are contributing today for our first game. But that's I think a big part of our focus that being said I do think there's there's property to bring in bigger name guys and we looked at a few of those and and haven't had one that that we've been able to to -- over make work yet but I do think there's there's room for apple we but I think the overall. Real quality of the product is going to be on developing your own players and supplementing that with guys like chizik and those guys like that and actually who can make an impact. And that's what that's what we're trying to do here and knowing. What is -- year obviously were very closely with the use academy. And can you describe to us because I know a lot of big time soccer fans understand -- youth academy works but it. People are just getting into the sport to an understanding and high school sports still kind of rules the roost around here. Can you describe the differences between the youth academy in May be going through the traditional high school to college -- Yeah there's. The youth academies really neat programs it's under 14 under 16 am very -- was programs we pay every transfer for our guys so. All the travel all the uniforms coaching field everything that I really don't have to pay for anything that he. If they get out one of our academy teams so. The first thing is financially we're committed to getting the best players and letting them just play and not have to worry about whether they can afford it or not. I think that's really critical second thing is the level of training they get. It's extremely high level professional coaches our coaches that are tied in to our first name's art director of our economies office. It literally right next door to our general manager -- front office so we are very integrated as an organization with our economy and our first teams -- you get that. Professional level trying to probably the most important piece of it. As it pertains -- academies. We are solely focused on developing these players to beat the dust up they can. We don't care about wins -- losses -- yeah we want to keep that to learn how to be competitive. We want those kids to try with one out there. But we're not coaching to -- -- went up putting out the teams and play in the players that we think it was the best chance -- -- in our academy. We're paying players and putting them positions based on what's best for their development as a player. And I think that's and that it's sound subtle but it's a massive difference in terms of how you -- how you coach how you train. Could throw out there it's not double -- pretend this is great culture -- good reason we do that. We care about development could we complete our team one day. And so are so focused as well how good they gonna be when they're eighteen or in some cases -- -- sixteen -- How good this player gonna be when he's eighteen at least thirteen years will play for you fourteen team we're thinking about the development plant that player when they're eighteen years old and potentially ready to join us. Or go to college you can still go to college if you -- -- academy and still come back the -- don't have to. Skip college if you're in the category. Scott called what went secrets in Akron. And then came back after that the so you actually do apple -- security academy you can still go to college can still get a full scholarship and to take that path orchard it Diego -- He'd come right the -- that's what you wanted to. Now. If you go through the academy go to college. Correct so -- -- here in the academy. And then you go to college you can still come directly to you don't have to go to the draft process. Others about a million rules so podcast is about four hours long we can. We can talk through that exact -- It's based on number of years that you train in our caddies so we can't have a guy that's for three months and say hey go to college and he's our player. A certain number of years you have to change in the economy and hours per year in the cavity and then during the colleges there's also a requirement that those players. Come back -- -- with us we have things in place of both a first -- but also local partnerships with. Arms semi pro teams that we're actually coaching courses are well what's so that we can -- players they would those teams keep their eligibility for us. I have a question for -- from Twitter. Pat Ross Goldman asks me are there any academy players close to breaking through right now. I think we have a couple players that we like America and we like dollar academy kids. There's the -- that definitely gonna go through college. And there'll be a little bit of maturation process with -- in college but also wandered back. Playing you know actually teams so I think there's talk the talk the most played players that the younger younger level. -- couple can definitely -- like as well. But it's probably too early to tell but. You know I I think based on what I've seen -- do in the past when earlier today at -- -- some more kids coming up. In the next few years. Well moving to this Saturday night you guys are playing -- DC united. But during the game you have very special event called salute to heroes can't describe to us what's in happened during that event. Yet and we've done every year for first few years gone back now it's a way for us just. To recognize. Military personnel their families first responders and their campus police fire. You know we're always looking at things that we can do in the community in this something's that you can do. That everyone can do and also some special things that we can do -- other people can't do and so. -- one big part of this guy is not just to honor folks with Friday's ceremony we haven't recognition programs are gonna have a big game for fans to see. But all -- just about to let them pick their favorite -- have a good time for the games to where we're fighting now. I think in the numbers not -- certain this morning at which point 500. Members have responded to two to our invitation to to come to -- the game that'll be at the game with their families. Also for bulk of these folks it is our way of saying thank you for what they do our our communities and mine is common and a fun night out with their families. And I just wanted to piggyback on that. The Worcester county sheriff's department and the game will be collecting new and gently used coats. It's our view which I always think is a wonderful wonderful thing to do. Yeah I mean I'm I'm underweight actually do. The news to our salute heroes by putting gas in the same -- were also doing charity drive. With them four -- gently used coach so if anyone has any -- 'cause they can bring in especially kids sizes are are are very important critical. If they can get those that would be that would be sent as I have couple young kids. And multi candidate they tried everything every year -- as -- know folks out there probably have jackets probably -- code that the kids and now permanently drawn out of this he can bring those the much appreciated. So do you think mice medium coats would work media -- among economists medium kind of guy I'm six foot -- medium. On air pocket -- out. And told media men and you can you can donate small. That will do little to Brian blow. President of the revolution. You can find him on Twitter at -- pres. Our PS PR -- it was. Very enlightening. Talking to you today you really answer some of the questions that have been kind of a long running theme for media this summer talking about the -- talking about the growth of analysts. And one way -- like to and enter every interview here is to ask. For your prediction on the World Cup next summer who's gonna win. The World Cup in Brazil. Obviously -- US senator -- I've traveled to the World Cup before the Santa wants he has national teams so. I think they're actually playing quite well right now. And and pending where they land with injuries come come next summer. I think they're gonna make a lot of noise that figures -- that's in the knockout stages. And potentially going -- -- about it I was actually at the at the usual -- social aid. I've gotten to see what I would call that most successful World Cup -- Quarterfinal that'll bring it out of questions for the US -- who knows what you get there. But at home. I think it's really hard to to pick against the Brazilians at this point. While bets I think three predictions for Brazil there's been one prediction that the US would win at all. And I did it I think it was Andrew Farrell was that the -- and. Which doesn't go OK maybe maybe I don't know -- -- presented the Brazilians did pretty typical yeah pressure the pressure to get targeted a date. If fans have extremely high expectations that occurred on World Cup could potentially backfire on them a little bit and I think it can be a little bit more wide open. I loved the way the Germans are playing right now both domestically and league and and and and national teams I think there are also going to be extremely tough. So Brian thank you very much for joining me today -- really oppression is very enlightening and very adjusting to talk to and hopefully we'll get to talk and -- them on. I can -- idea. Thank you have a wonderful day it. You know Brian below president of the New England Revolution. He's had very interest in career here in new England sports between working with via. Working with the patriots in the Kraft group and moving over the revolution running them and they're doing a wonderful job this year and as we stand right now and it's. September 19 or September 18 -- say. And the rest of making a push the revs are making a push for the -- who want to get them back and that it had an amazing defense almost the entirety of the season. They need to regain that form a little Britain and they'll get right back in the the roads that are going through some very interesting times right now in the next couple years are going to be very anxious for them and the sport as a whole and prime below -- the perfect person for -- to talk to about the growth of the sport and what they're gonna do with a new stadium and it sounds fairly optimistic like they're gonna do something. Within the next couple years probably in the Boston metro area. It'll be good it'll help reds fans be able to connect more with the team. And I am very much looking forward to thank you guys again for listening I'm young men from the -- Holley show on WE I two to six. Can follow me on Twitter young men W yeah I think you guys again for joining me on another edition of WEEI soccer cast have a good one.