New England Patriots




  • Location: Foxborough, MA
  • Opened: 2002
  • Capacity: 65,878
  • Weather: Uncomfortable (ranked 14th out of 20 outdoor venues)
  • Games attended: 2
  • Last visited: 2023


No football stadium has enjoyed more sustained success in its history than Gillette Stadium. From 2002 until 2022, the Patriots compiled a regular season record of 134-35, and a playoff mark of 19-4 when playing here. Gillette’s main tenant won 16 division titles in the stadium’s first 18 years, and 5 Super Bowls (they were still playing at old Foxborough Stadium when Brady won his first). With that kind of success, it’s no wonder that the place has sold out every game in its existence.

Success doesn’t come cheap. The Patriots have some of the highest ticket prices in football. But for that price, a fan used to see their team win 4 out of 5 times.

Gillette is sorta in the middle of nowhere, closer to Providence RI than Boston. To counter, the Pats designed Patriot Place, a veritable city of its own with over a million square feet of shopping, restaurants, and even a hotel. It’s not a bad place to hang if you’re trying to wait out the brutal traffic after the game.

Back when they were winning, parking was pricy, and tailgating was only decent. Many fans pre-gamed in Patriot Place rather than the back of their car. In 2023, the Patriots offered free parking in the general lots. This sped up pregame traffic and improved the tailgate scene significantly. One of the general lots was reserved for cars willing not to leave until at least 75 minutes after the game. They were free when general parking wasn’t, and in 2023, the driver received a $50 VISA gift card upon entry. So after years of winning at unprecedented rates, once the fortunes of the team started to flail, Robert Kraft paid YOU to park.

When the stadium opened, a lighthouse and a replica of Boston’s Longfellow Bridge used to be the signature view. In 2023, the north end zone in which they sit was redone to feature a new 218-foot lighthouse (complete with a 360-degree observation deck), huge video board, and a club to connect the east and west club seats. The new set up is objectively better, but I wonder if they blew up some karma when they destroyed the old setup.

The lack of escalators to the upper deck are a bit of a pain point. Concessions, handled in-house, feature some local flair but is mainly standard stadium fare at NFL prices. Weather can be a factor; the only saving grace of the team’s newfound mediocrity there will be fewer late-season late-afternoon and night games in which to freeze.

It’s been my observation that Boston-area fans like to sing when they’re watching their winning teams after a few beers. Brush up to the words of The Outfield’s “Your Love” or Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”.

The stadium will really start to show its worth over the next few seasons, especially if the team remains a struggling club. Will some of the stadium’s shortcomings become a bigger issue? Is the $250 million renovation enough to keep the sellout streak going strong? We shall see.