History beckons, and the Boston Breakers are headed back to Harvard.
The Breakers announced Tuesday that they will return to Harvard Stadium for the 2014 season. Harvard is the place they called home for three seasons in Women’s Professional Soccer from 2009-11. Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, Mass., hosted the Breakers for the last two seasons in WPSL Elite and the NWSL, respectively.
“We are in a good place, which allows us to move to a bigger venue and continue to grow our fan base,” Boston Breakers general manager Lee Billiard said. “Harvard Stadium is a facility we are very familiar with, and a facility that is fantastic to host a sporting event. We are grateful to Harvard for welcoming us back and allowing us to call their amazing facility ‘home.’ After selling out nine of our 11 games in 2013, we decided a bigger stadium was a must for 2014. We want to grow as a business and provide our fanbase and players the best possible experience we can on game days.”
Despite the 30,323 seats in Harvard and an average attendance north of 4,000 for the Breakers in their time there, Harvard never felt cavernous. Boston’s best crowd there came on May 2, 2009, when they welcomed Marta and the Los Angeles Sol.
The Breakers averaged 2,427 fans per game at Dilboy in 2013, primarily because the venue was too small to house a well-established team. With the Allston, Mass., based stadium sitting just across the Charles River, it’s accessible by mass transport, something Dilboy could never claim with its limited parking.
Nostalgia, prestige, accessibility and the actually feeling of a pro sporting event win out here with this facility change for the Breakers. Harvard, after all, was built in 1903 and hosted Olympic soccer matches in 1984. Increasing the size of the playing field is also a plus (I frequently described Dilboy as a postage stamp).
The biggest likely negative is sure to be an increase in rent, although specifics are unknown.
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