Gillette Stadium

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Gillette Stadium
The Razor
Gillettestadiumlogo.png
Gillette Stadium02.jpg
Former names CMGI Field (2002)
Location 1 Patriot Place
Foxborough, Massachusetts 02035, USA
Coordinates 42°05′27.40″N 71°15′51.64″W / 42.0909444°N 71.2643444°W / 42.0909444; -71.2643444Coordinates: 42°05′27.40″N 71°15′51.64″W / 42.0909444°N 71.2643444°W / 42.0909444; -71.2643444
Public transit MBTA.svg Foxboro (game days only)
Owner Kraft Sports Group
Operator Kraft Sports Group
Executive suites 87
Capacity 68,756 (Football)
20,000 (soccer)[1]
Field size American football:
120 yd × 53.3 yd
Soccer:
105 yd × 75 yd
Surface FieldTurf (2006–present)
Grass (2002–2006)
Tenants
New England Patriots (NFL) (2002–present)
New England Revolution (MLS) (2002–present)
UMass Minutemen football (2012–present)
MIAA High School Football Super Bowl
Construction
Broke ground March 24, 2000
Opened May 11, 2002 (partial)
September 9, 2002 (grand)
Construction cost $325 million
($426 million in 2014 dollars[2])
Architect HOK Sports
Project manager Barton Malow[3]
Structural engineer Bliss and Nyitray, Inc.
Services engineer Vanderweil Engineers[4]
General contractor Becon Construction Company, Inc.[3]

Gillette Stadium is a stadium located in Foxborough, Massachusetts, United States, 21 miles (34 km) 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's 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.[5] The facility opened in 2002, replacing the old Foxboro Stadium.[6] 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.[7] The stadium was originally known as CMGI Field before the naming rights were bought by Gillette after the "dot-com" bust.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11] The first official event was a New England Revolution soccer game on May 11, 2002.[12] 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.[13]

Gillette Stadium is accessible by rail via the Providence/Stoughton and Franklin lines at the Foxboro MBTA station, but only during Patriot games.

The Patriots have sold out every home game since moving to the stadium—preseason, regular season, and playoffs. This streak dates back to the 1994 season, while the team was still at Foxboro Stadium.

History[edit]

Foxboro Stadium[edit]

Main article: Foxboro Stadium

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.[14] 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.[15][16] 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.[17] 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 (which was previously home to the Patriots and already had a stadium they could play in), Hartford, and Providence became interested in building new stadiums to lure the Patriots away from Foxboro.[18]

Location discussions[edit]

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.[19]

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.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25] Rowland announced at a press conference that he was officially "a New York Jets fan, now and probably forever".[26] In 1999, the team officially announced that it would remain in Foxboro, which led to Gillette Stadium's construction.[27] After the Hartford proposal fell through, Robert Kraft paid for 100% of the construction costs, a rare instance of an NFL owner privately financing the construction of a stadium.

Design[edit]

On April 18, 2000, the team revealed plans for the new stadium in Foxboro.[28] 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.[28]

The stadium was designed by HOK Sports. 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 Sports went through 200 designs before coming up with one that Kraft liked.[29] 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.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32]

Gillette Stadium ranks first among all NFL venues in stadium food safety with a 0% critical violations.[33] 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.[34]

College football[edit]

As part of the UMass football program's move to Division I FBS, the Minutemen played 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. Its small size (17,000 seats) would have made it prohibitively difficult to meet FBS average attendance requirements, 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.[35][36]

Notable games[edit]

Gillette Stadium mezzanine area

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.[37] 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.


MLS Cup 2002[edit]

Date Time (EDT) Team #1 Result Team #2 Spectators
October 20, 2000 15.00 New England Revolution 0–1 Los Angeles Galaxy 61,316

2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup matches[edit]

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
July 11, 2003  United States 2-0  El Salvador Group B 33,652
July 13, 2003  Martinique 0-2  United States 8,780
July 15, 2003  El Salvador 1-0  Martinique 10,361
July 19, 2003  United States 5-0  Cuba Quarterfinals 15,627
 Costa Rica 5-2  El Salvador

2003 FIFA Women's World Cup matches[edit]

Date Time (EDT) Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Spectators
September 27, 2003 12.45  South Korea 1–7  Norway Group B 14,356
September 27, 2003 15.30  Canada 3–1  Japan Group C
October 1, 2003 19.30  United States 1–0  Norway Quarter-finals 25,103

2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup matches[edit]

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
July 11, 2005  United States 0-0  Costa Rica Group B 15,211
 Canada 2-1  Cuba
July 16, 2005  Honduras 3-2  Costa Rica Quarter-finals 22.108
 United States 3-1  Jamaica

2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup matches[edit]

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
June 12, 2007  United States 4-0  El Salvador Group B 26,523
 Trinidad and Tobago 1-1  Guatemala
June 16, 2007  Canada 3-0  Guatemala Quarter-finals 22,412
 United States 2-1  Panama

2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup matches[edit]

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
July 11, 2009  United States 2-2  Haiti Group B 24.137
 Honduras 4-0  Grenada

World Football Challenge[edit]

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
July 26, 2009 Italy FC Internazionale 2-0 Italy AC Milan 2009 World Football Challenge 42,531
July 13, 2011 United States New England Revolution 1-4 England Manchester United FC 2011 World Football Challenge 51,523

Playing surface[edit]

On November 14, 2006, two days after a rainstorm contributed to the deterioration of the grass surface in a Patriots game 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.[38]

The surface was upgraded again in April 2014 to FieldTurf "Revolution" with "VersaTile" drainage system. The FieldTurf Revolution product is currently used at many venues across North America, including CenturyLink Field (home to the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and MLS’s Seattle Sounders) and Providence Park, home of the MLS’s Portland Timbers, where its installation was recently completed. [39]

[edit]

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.

Patriot Place[edit]

2009 Energy Project Award Winning 525 kilowatt BIPV CoolPly system on the Patriot Place Complex Adjacent to the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. The Solar Project was built, and is owned and operated by Constellation Energy.
Main article: Patriot Place
Patriot Place Foxborough.jpg

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.[40][41] 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.[42]

The first phase of the project opened in late 2006,[43] 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.[42] 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.[44] 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.[45] 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.

Panorama of Gillette Stadium, taken from the south end, in 2007. Since then, the video screen has been significantly enlarged.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Gillette Stadium Overview". revolutionsoccer.net. March 8, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "CMGI Field". SportsBusiness Journal. May 20, 2002. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  4. ^ Vanderweil Engineers – Gillette Stadium
  5. ^ "Report: UMass to announce MAC move". ESPN.com. Associated Press. April 19, 2011. Retrieved April 19, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Stadium Information". New England Patriots/Gillette Stadium. Retrieved October 10, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Gillette Stadium Quick Facts". New England Patriots/Gillette Stadium. Retrieved October 10, 2008. 
  8. ^ "CMGI Field is now Gillette Stadium". CNN.com. August 5, 2002. Retrieved October 11, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Gillette naming rights extended". ESPN Boston. September 21, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2010. 
  10. ^ "CMGI and New England Patriots Agree to Revise Sponsorship Agreement". Business Wire. August 5, 2002. Retrieved October 11, 2008. 
  11. ^ Vaillancourt, Meg (December 7, 1999). "Foxborough Ok's Patriots Stadium". The Boston Globe. 
  12. ^ "Gillette Stadium". New England Revolution. Retrieved October 11, 2008. 
  13. ^ Pedulla, Tom (September 6, 2002). "New Stadium is Champion Pats' Crowning Jewel". USA Today. Retrieved October 11, 2008. 
  14. ^ Roberts, p.179
  15. ^ Foulds, p.103
  16. ^ Roberts, p.188
  17. ^ Roberts, p.189
  18. ^ Roberts, p.193
  19. ^ Roberts, p.190-191
  20. ^ Roberts, p.191-192
  21. ^ Roberts, p.192
  22. ^ Roberts, p.194-195
  23. ^ Roberts, p.195-197
  24. ^ Roberts, p.197
  25. ^ Roberts, p.198-200
  26. ^ Patriots cancel Hartford move
  27. ^ Roberts, p.202
  28. ^ a b Burris, Joe (April 19, 2000). "Light is shed: Patriots Unveil New Stadium Plan, Providing a Beacon of Hope". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 19, 2008. 
  29. ^ Comfort Zone – Boston Globe – November 19, 2001
  30. ^ Gillette Stadium Lighthouse – New England Lighthouse Treasures – Retrieved September 3, 2009
  31. ^ "Gillette Stadium upgrades to HD Video Boards". Patriots.com. May 26, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  32. ^ Patriots Announce Addition of Really Huge HD Video Boards for 2010 in Gillette Stadium
  33. ^ Sando, Mike (July 26, 2010). "OTL: Safer to digest in NFC West". Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
  34. ^ Breer, Albert (July 26, 2010). "Patriots Run a Clean Operation". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
  35. ^ Vautour, Matt (2011-04-21). "Gillette Stadium new home for UMass football beginning in 2012". Daily Hampshire Gazette. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  36. ^ Chimells, Ron (April 23, 2011). "UMass football could play on campus again, but not before 2014". The Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts). Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  37. ^ "New England Patriots History". Patriots.com. Retrieved August 4, 2009. 
  38. ^ Breer, Albert (February 22, 2010). "Patriots Putting in New Field at Gillette". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  39. ^ Gillette Stadium upgrading field surface
  40. ^ Bailey, Steve (January 25, 2006). "New Role for Krafts: Developers". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 8, 2009. 
  41. ^ "Gillette Stadium: New for 2006". Patriots.com. April 2, 2006. Retrieved July 8, 2009. 
  42. ^ a b Abelson, Jenn (May 20, 2007). "Krafts Building a $350m Patriot Place Complex, And A Legacy". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 8, 2009. 
  43. ^ "Bass Pro Shop Opens In Patriot Place". WBZ-TV. November 15, 2007. Retrieved July 8, 2009. [dead link]
  44. ^ "CBS Sports Bar & Restaurant Coming To Foxboro". WBZ-TV. December 9, 2007. Retrieved July 8, 2009. [dead link]
  45. ^ Reed, Keith (May 20, 2007). "Patriots Museum Will Have Pizzazz". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 8, 2009. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Foxboro Stadium
Home of the
New England Patriots

2002 – present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
Foxboro Stadium
Home of the
New England Revolution

2002 – present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
Columbus Crew Stadium
Host of the
MLS Cup

2002
Succeeded by
The Home Depot Center
Preceded by
Invesco Field at Mile High
Home of the
Drum Corps International
World Championship

2005
Succeeded by
Camp Randall Stadium
Preceded by
M&T Bank Stadium
Home of the
NCAA Lacrosse Final Four

2008–2009
Succeeded by
M&T Bank Stadium
Preceded by
Oakland Coliseum
RCA Dome
Heinz Field
Host of AFC Championship Game
2004
2008
2012–2013
Succeeded by
Heinz Field
Heinz Field
Sports Authority Field at Mile High