- Lloyd Brown
Gillette Stadium – New England Patriots
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
Gillette Stadium 1 Patriot Place Foxborough, MA 02035
Year Opened: 2002
The New England Patriots have been one of the most dominant teams in the NFL over the last 20 years, with 18 consecutive winning seasons in a row. Since 2000 they have appeared in nine Super Bowls, winning six of them. They now hold the NFL record for the most postseason wins at 37.
The Patriots have called the 65,878 seat Gillette Stadium home since 2002. This includes nearly 6,000 club seats and 89 luxury suites. The stadium was privately funded by Patriots team owner Robert Kraft and also serves as the home of the New England Revolution of the MLS, which is also owned by Mr. Kraft.
Food & Beverage 4
There are more than 60 food concession locations in the stadium on game days. For the most part, they will offer the typical stadium fare of hot dogs ($4), nachos ($6.75), pizza ($8.50), brats ($7.50), pretzels ($5), chicken tenders ($8.75), wings ($9.50), street tacos ($10), and BBQ sandwiches ($8.75). It is disappointing not to find more regional dishes available at the game. Dessert items include popcorn ($4), cotton candy ($4), candy ($5) and peanuts ($5).
On the beverage front, Gillette Stadium serves Pepsi brand sodas ($4.50), bottled water ($4), domestic beers ($9) and premium and craft beers ($10).
Gillette Stadium is one of the few professional stadiums to handle food and beverage in-house. This allows it to maintain excellent quality control and it never has been cited for a health code violation.
While the food prices are very reasonable inside the stadium, we suggest you try out one of the many fine restaurants in the adjacent Patriot Place complex for your pre or post game meal. You can then utilize the stadium concessions for beverages and snacks.
One of the first indications that you are entering the stadium of “New England’s Team” can be found at the Patriot Place entry gate. This gate is decorated by a 10-story representation of a New England lighthouse and gridwork featuring the outline of the Longfellow Bridge in Boston. This regional touch was added by stadium designer Populous at the request of Mr. Kraft.
Once inside you will find a well laid out seating bowl featuring great sight lines. All seats are angled towards the 50-yard line. There are video boards measuring 45’ X 100’ in each end zone, with a ribbon board extending down each sideline on the front of the level seating area. The electronics package will be constantly updated with game stats and replays of key plays throughout the game. Above one of the video boards are banners saluting each of the Patriots six Super Bowl Championships.
The stadium is located next to Patriot Place, a regional lifestyle center featuring 24 restaurants, more than 30 retail stores and several entertainment options. The restaurant lineup includes Red Robin, Bar Louie, the CBS Sporting Club, Skipjack’s, Davio’s and Olive Garden. Patriot Place retail shops include Express, Olympia Sports, the Patriots Proshop, Trader Joe’s and Vineyard Vines.
A “must see” when in town is the Patriot’s Hall of Fame located just outside of the Patriot Place gate to Gillette Stadium. This interactive museum salutes the many accomplishments of the Patriots team and the six Super Bowl Championships it has won.
Fans always look forward to the 21-gun salute fired by the End Zone Militia, a group of Revolutionary War reenactors. This is because it signals yet another successful scoring drive by the Patriots. Also helping to lead cheers is Pat Patriot, a revolutionary Minuteman.
The fan base at Gillette Stadium is one of the most loyal in the NFL. The stadium has sold out every game since it opened in 2002. The Patriots are truly a regional team, as fans from Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut regularly make the pilgrimage on I-95 and US 1 to the games. While Tom Brady is the center of media attention, several members of the offensive and defensive units also are fan favorites.
There is a reason why the team is known as the New England, rather than Boston, Patriots. First and foremost, it is a team that truly represents a region, with most of the states that comprise New England only a short drive away via I-95. It is also because the home of the Patriots is in Foxborough, Massachusetts, which is located 28 miles southwest of Boston and 20 miles northeast of Providence, Rhode Island.
The major route for getting to Patriots games is via I-95 and Rte. 1 to Foxborough. As you can imagine on game days this already congested corridor can be a nightmare, so plan to allow plenty of time to get to the stadium. From the Boston area, take I-95 South to exit 9 and head south for 3 miles on Route 1. The stadium will be located on your left. From the Providence area, take I-95 North to I-495. Take exit 14A off I-495 onto Route 1 North. Stay on Route 1 for 4 miles and the stadium will be on your right.
There is a public transportation option on days when the Patriots are playing at home. MBTA commuter rail offers service from the South Station in Boston and the Providence Station in Providence, Rhode Island. The cost is $20 for a round trip. Be aware that each train only makes one trip on game days. Don’t miss the train, it’s a long walk back to Boston or Providence.
Once at the stadium, there are plenty of gates for entry into the stadium, as well as enough concession areas and restrooms to handle the capacity crowds. The one thing to be aware of if visiting the stadium for the first time is that it was built before stadiums regularly featured escalators to reach the higher level of the stands. If you are seated in the 300 level of the stands, allow plenty of time to traverse the winding ramps that transport you to the top of the stadium. Elevators are available, but they are strictly used for fans with mobility issues
Return on Investment 3
Attending a Patriots game is an expensive proposition. Gillette Stadium ranks #4 for NFL Stadiums in the Fans Cost Index. Much of this has to do with the fact that the Patriots have sold out every game since the stadium opened in 2002. This leads you to the secondary ticket market, where premium prices will be the norm.
Most of the parking nearest Gillette Stadium is allotted to season ticket holders. You can expect to pay $30 or more for parking on game days in one of the many private lots located nearby. One way you can avoid this cost is by parking in the Delayed Departure lot. The lot is free, but there is no exiting from this lot until 75 minutes after the game has ended. This option is worth considering, as you will be stuck in traffic anyway and the stadium offers some post game activities to make the time pass quickly. You must pre-register for this lot at www.gillettestadium.com/parking.
Concessions at Gillette Stadium are about average in price for the NFL. While Foxborough is an isolated location, lodging at prices in the $100 range can be found in the many nearby towns along Route 1.
One extra goes to the End Zone Militia for adding the Revolutionary touch in an area that saw much action during the War of Independence.
In addition to hosting the Patriots and the Revolution, Gillette Stadium has been the site for many other sports events. These include the NHL Winter Classic in 2016, the MLS Cup in 2002, several games of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Boston Cannons Major League Lacrosse games and the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships on five occasions.
Gillette Stadium has been the site for many major concerts by such artists as the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and many others.
Gillette Stadium accepts only cash and VISA cards for payment. The team has a marketing agreement as a major sponsor with the credit card company.
Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” serves as the team’s entrance anthem during the pregame ceremonies and it drives the fans wild.
The Patriots are consistently one of the top teams in the NFL. Gillette Stadium offers many amenities both inside and outside the stadium to make a trip to Foxborough well worth the effort. Patriot Place and the Patriots Hall of Fame make the visit an all-day or even a long weekend affair.