|Former names||CMGI Field (2002)|
|Location||1 Patriot Place
Foxborough, Massachusetts 02035
|Broke ground||March 24, 2000|
|Opened||May 11, 2002 (partial)
September 9, 2002 (grand)
|Owner||Kraft Sports Group|
|Operator||Kraft Sports Group|
|Construction cost||$325 million
($422 million in 2013 dollars)
|Architect||Populous (HOK Sport)|
|Project manager||Barton Malow|
|Structural engineer||Bliss and Nyitray, Inc.|
|Services engineer||Vanderweil Engineers|
|General contractor||Becon Construction Company, Inc.|
|Capacity||68,756 (American football)
|New England Patriots (NFL) (2002–present)
New England Revolution (MLS) (2002–present)
UMass Minutemen football (2012-present)
MIAA High School Football Super Bowl
Gillette Stadium is a stadium located in Foxborough, Massachusetts, 21 miles (34 kilometers) southwest of downtown Boston and 20 miles (32 km) from downtown Providence, Rhode Island. It serves as the home stadium and administrative offices for both the NFL's New England Patriots football franchise and the MLS' New England Revolution soccer team. In 2012, it also became the home stadium for the football program of the University of Massachusetts (UMass), making it the largest football stadium in the Mid-American Conference. The facility opened in 2002, replacing the old Foxboro Stadium. The seating capacity is 68,756, including 6,000 club seats and 87 luxury suites. The stadium is owned and operated by Kraft Sports Group, a subsidiary of The Kraft Group, the company through which businessman Robert Kraft owns the Patriots and Revolution. The stadium was originally known as CMGI Field before the naming rights were bought by Gillette after the "dot-com" bust. Although Gillette has since been acquired by Procter & Gamble, the stadium retains the Gillette name because P&G has continued to use the Gillette brand name and because the Gillette company was founded in the Boston area. Gillette and the Patriots jointly announced in September 2010 that their partnership, which includes naming rights to the stadium, will extend through the 2031 season. Additionally, uBid (until April 2003 a wholly owned subsidiary of CMGI) as of 2009 continues to sponsor one of the main entrance gates to the stadium.
The Town of Foxborough approved plans for the stadium's construction on December 6, 1999, and work on the stadium began on March 24, 2000. The first official event was a New England Revolution soccer game on May 11, 2002. The Rolling Stones played at Gillette Stadium on September 5, 2002 on the band's Licks Tour. Grand opening ceremonies were held four days later on September 9 when the Patriots unveiled their Super Bowl XXXVI championship banner before a Monday Night Football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
From the 1971 NFL season until the 2001 NFL season, the Patriots played all of their home games at Foxboro Stadium. The stadium was privately funded on an extremely small budget and featured few amenities. Its aluminum benches would freeze over during games with cold weather and it had an unorganized dirt parking lot. Foxboro Stadium did not prove to bring in the profit that was needed to keep an NFL team in New England, as it was one of the smallest stadiums in the NFL, with just over 60,000 seats. The team had fallen into debt after team executive Chuck Sullivan funded the Jackson Victory Tour, in an attempt earn more profit for the team. Tickets sales failed, however, and the team's debt increased even further – to a final total of $126 million. After two unsuccessful owners bought the team and stadium, it was clear that a new stadium had to be built for the team to stay in New England. This is when other cities in the New England area, including Boston, Hartford and Providence became interested in building new stadiums to lure the Patriots away from Foxboro.
The first major stadium proposal from another city came in September 1993. Lowell Weicker, the Governor of Connecticut, proposed to the Connecticut General Assembly that a new stadium should be built in Hartford to attract the Patriots to move there, stating that a stadium had "potentially great benefit" if it were built. The bill passed in the State Assembly on September 27, 1993.
In Massachusetts, there was a proposal to build a "Megaplex" in Boston, which would be the site of the stadium, as well as a new Fenway Park (the home park of the Boston Red Sox) and a much needed convention center. The proposed sites for this hybrid convention center-stadium were along Summer Street in South Boston or at the so-called Crosstown site along Melnea Cass Boulevard in Roxbury, adjacent to Boston's South End. The administration of Massachusetts Governor William Weld pushed for construction of a full "Megaplex" at the crosstown site, with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino favoring construction of a new, stand-alone convention center in South Boston. Ultimately, the residents of neither of these neighborhoods wanted a stadium, and as a result, Menino backed out, fearing that it would affect his chance at re-election. The Fenway Park plan was cancelled after many "Save Fenway Park!" groups popped up to save the historic ballpark.
Kraft then began a plan to build a new stadium in South Boston. In that plan, Kraft was to pay for the stadium himself, hoping to win the support of Weld and Menino. He began to sketch designs, but the project was leaked to the press in December 1996. The residents of South Boston objected to a stadium being built in that location, causing Menino and Weld to become angry at Kraft. Kraft abandoned all plans for a Boston Stadium after the affair. In January 1997, Kraft began talks with Providence mayor Vincent Cianci to relocate the team to Providence and build a new stadium there. The proposed 68,000 seat domed stadium would have cost $250 million, and would have been paid through income taxes, public bonds, surcharges on tickets, and private funds. However, residents of the neighborhood of the proposed project were extremely opposed to the project because the surrounding area would have needed massive infrastructure improvements. The proposal fell through after a few weeks.
During a news conference in September 1998, the team revealed plans to build a new stadium in Foxboro, keeping the team in Massachusetts. It was to be funded by the state as well as Kraft himself. This plan brought more competition from Connecticut, as a $1 billion plan to renovate an area of Hartford, including building a stadium. Kraft then signed an agreement to move the team to Hartford on November 18, 1998. The proposed stadium included 68,000 seats, 60 luxury boxes, and had a projected cost of $375 million. As before in Boston and Providence, construction of the stadium was challenged by the residents. Problems with the site were discovered, and an agreement could not be reached regarding the details of the stadium. The entire plan eventually fell through, enraging then Connecticut governor John G. Rowland, who lobbied hard for the stadium and spent weeks deliberating with Robert Kraft. Rowland announced at a press conference that he was officially "a New York Jets fan, now and probably forever". In 1999, the team officially announced that it would remain in Foxboro, which led to Gillette Stadium's construction. Robert Kraft paid for 100% of the construction costs, a rare instance of an NFL owner privately financing the construction of a stadium.
On April 18, 2000, the team revealed plans for the new stadium in Foxboro. It was announced as a 68,000 seat stadium at a cost of $325 million, with the entire cost privately funded. Concurrently announced was a new road to access the stadium from U.S. Route 1, and an additional 3,000 parking spaces to accommodate the increased number of fans.
The stadium was designed by HOK Sport. Kraft wanted it modeled on M&T Bank Stadium which had opened in Baltimore, Maryland in 1998. Kraft insisted on it having a "front door" with a Disneyland-like entrance. HOK went through 200 designs before coming up with one that Kraft liked. The entrance includes a lighthouse (which was originally designed to shoot a light 2 miles (3.2 km) high) and a bridge modeled on Boston's Longfellow Bridge. The lighthouse and bridge are now featured on the stadium's logo.
For the first eight years of its existence the stadium used a video display, with a smaller LED scoreboard just beneath it, at each end of the field. The south side also had a large LED scoreboard in addition to the smaller one. In 2010, the stadium installed two new high definition Daktronics video displays to replace the entire previous setup at both ends. At the time of their construction, the larger screen, at 41.5 feet tall and 164 feet wide (12.6 m x 50.0 m), was the second-largest video monitor in any NFL stadium; only Cowboys Stadium had a larger one.
Gillette Stadium ranks first among all NFL venues in stadium food safety with a 0% critical violations. The Gillette Stadium food service, instead of being outsourced like most NFL teams, is run in-house and is led by the Patriots executive director of foods and beverage David Wheeler.
As part of the UMass football program's move to Division I FBS, the Minutemen will play all of their home games at Gillette Stadium for at least the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The stadium is 95 miles away from the UMass campus in Amherst--the longest trip of any FBS member. However, the Minutemen's on-campus stadium, Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium, was not suitable for FBS football in its present configuration. It would have been almost impossible to meet the requirement of 15,000 fans per game, and its press box and replay facilities were well below Mid-American Conference standards. Additionally, several nonconference teams would not even consider playing games in Amherst. McGuirk Stadium is being upgraded to FBS standards and will be ready for play again in 2014, but the Minutemen's current deal with the Kraft Group calls for the Minutemen to play four of their home games in Foxborough from 2014 to 2016 in exchange for keeping part of the revenue from ticket sales.
The venue has hosted the NFL's nationally–televised primetime season–opening games in 2004 and 2005 (when the Patriots unveiled their championship banners from Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX). The stadium also played host to the 2003 AFC Championship Game, in which the Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts 24–14. Eight days earlier the Patriots hosted the coldest game (4 degrees, −12 wind chill) in New England Patriots history in the AFC Divisional Playoff game when the Patriots defeated the Tennessee Titans by the score of 17–14. Gillette Stadium also hosted the 2007 AFC Championship Game, with the Patriots defeating the San Diego Chargers, 21–12. On January 10, 2010, the Baltimore Ravens beat the Patriots 33–14 here giving the Patriots their first home loss in the playoffs in Gillette Stadium. The Patriots suffered their second home playoff loss on January 16, 2011 in a 28–21 New York Jets victory. During the 2012 NFL playoffs, the Patriots defeated the Denver Broncos, 45-10, and again hosted the AFC Championship, where they won against the Baltimore Ravens, 23-20. The following year, they again hosted the AFC Championship game, where they lost 28-13 to the Baltimore Ravens. In all, the Pats are 10–3 at Gillette Stadium in the playoffs and the New England Revolution are undefeated. Memorable MLS playoff victories include wins over the Chicago Fire in the 2005 and 2006 Eastern Conference Final, sending the Revs to the MLS Cup. Additionally, the venue hosted 2002 MLS Cup and four games of the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup. Gillette Stadium also hosted the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships in 2008, 2009, and 2012.
On November 14, 2006, two days after a rainstorm contributed to the deterioration of the grass surface in a Patriots loss against the New York Jets, team management decided to replace the natural grass surface with a synthetic surface, FieldTurf. The Patriots' first game on the surface was a victory over the previously 9–1 Chicago Bears on November 26. At the conclusion of the 2007 season, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had a career record of 31–3 on artificial turf. The team lost a preseason matchup in August 2007 to the Tennessee Titans on the new FieldTurf but otherwise won its first eleven regular-season and playoff games on the surface covering the period of November 2006 until September 2008, when the Patriots lost to the Miami Dolphins.
In February 2010, the surface was pulled and upgraded to FieldTurf "Duraspine Pro," which was expected to meet FIFA standards that the previous turf did not, preventing the team from having to place sod on top of their turf to host international soccer matches.
When the field is configured for American football, the Patriots have their "Flying Elvis" logo painted on the field at dead center of the 50-yard line. Off to both sides along the 50-yard line, the Gillette Stadium logo is also painted on the field. This is a gray-and-yellow stylized representation of the bridge and tower at the north entrance of the stadium.
In early 2006, the Patriots and Kraft announced plans to build a "super regional lifestyle and entertainment center" in the area around Gillette Stadium named Patriot Place. The cost of the project was $350 million, more than the cost to build Gillette Stadium itself; Kraft had purchased much of the surrounding land, about 700 acres (280 ha), when he bought Foxboro Stadium in the late 1980s.
The first phase of the project opened in late 2006, and featured the first Bass Pro Shops in New England, as well as Circuit City (now closed), Bed Bath & Beyond, Five Guys Burgers, Christmas Tree Shops, and Staples. In December 2007, the Patriots and CBS announced plans to build a themed restaurant and nightclub, named "CBS Scene," at the site, which would also include studios for CBS-owned WBZ-TV. The restaurant was part of the second phase of the project, which included an open mall, a health center, a Cinema de Lux movie theater, a four-star Renaissance hotel, and "The Hall at Patriot Place." Attached to Gillette Stadium, the Hall includes a two-level interactive museum honoring the Patriots accomplishments and Super Bowl championships, plus the Patriots Pro Shop. The first restaurants and stores in phase two began opening in July 2008, and were followed by the openings of the Hall at Patriot Place and the CBS Scene in time for the beginning of the 2008 New England Patriots season. More locations, including the health center and hotel, opened in 2009, along with additional sites in phase one.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gillette Stadium.|
- Gillette Stadium Website
- Gillette Stadium Tickets
- Web Cam of Gillette Stadium
- Official Patriot Place Website
|Events and tenants|
|Home of the
New England Patriots
2002 – present
|Home of the
New England Revolution
2002 – present
Columbus Crew Stadium
|Host of the
The Home Depot Center
Invesco Field at Mile High
|Home of the
Drum Corps International
Camp Randall Stadium
M&T Bank Stadium
|Home of the
NCAA Lacrosse Final Four
2008 – 2009
M&T Bank Stadium
|Host of AFC Championship Game