Gillette Stadium is the home of the three-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and the New England Revolution (it just wouldn’t fit in the headline). It’s also the centerpiece of a new village known as Patriot Place in Foxboro. You can even follow what’s going on there on Twitter.
Gillette opened in 2002 after the old Foxboro Stadium was torn down following the Patriots epic win in the “Snow Bowl” in the 2002 AFC Playoffs.
Tip: The spot where Adam Vinatieri kicked the two legendary “Snow Bowl” field goals was marked with a plaque in the Gillette Stadium parking lot in 2002. It was removed when Patriot Place was built on the site, but the exact spot was left unoccupied for a future memorial to the event. The Patriots won’t say where it is in Patriots Place. See if you can find it.
That game is one of many Patriot moments immortalized in the Patriots Hall of Fame, an impressive interactive experience that sits next to the stadium and is worth the trip to Foxboro, even if the Pats and Revs aren’t playing.
COMING AND GOING
There is public transportation for all Patriots games and it’s pretty afforable. This is a special train service from South Station and Providence Station. Round trip fare is $15. The train will leave Gillette a half-hour after the end of the game. Visit the MBTA’s web site for more information.
If you’re going on a game day leave several hours early. The Patriots open the stadium four hours before kickoff.
Take 93 south to 95 south. On 95 take exit 9 (Wrentham) to Route 1 south. Follow Route 1 South. Gillette will be 3 miles ahead on the left.
From western Massachusetts, northern Connecticut, Vermont, upstate New York:
Take I-90 (Mass Turnpike) to 495 south. Take exit 14A onto Route 1 north. The stadium is about four miles ahead on your right.
From The Cape:
495 north to exit 14A onto Route 1 north. The stadium is about four miles ahead on your right.
From Maine, New Hampshire:
Take 128 south to 95 south. Take exit 9 onto Route 1 south. Gillette will be 3 miles ahead on the left.
From southern Connecticut, Rhode Island:
95 north to 495 north. Take exit 14A onto Route 1 north. Follow Route 1. The stadium is about four miles ahead on your right.
There are more than 16,500 parking spaces outside the stadium. Here’s a breakdown of the rates on game days:
• $40 for cars, motorcycles (one per space)
• $125 for RVs or limos
• $200 for buses
• $40 for motorcycles
Tip: You don’t have to pay to park if you’re going to Patriot Place. However, you’ll be asked at the gate to prove you were there and not at the game (with time-stamped receipts), so trying to park here to save some cash might not be the best idea.
The Patriots have much more information in their Parking Guide.
They welcome it, but there are also rules. The stadium has posted those rules on their web site.
Surprise item you can bring in: small TV monitors
Surprise item you can’t bring in: food, drinks, umbrellas, strollers
Find the complete list of approved and banned items on the Patriot web site.
TICKETS & SEATING
We hate to say it, but good luck. Tickets to a Patriots game are extremely tough to get and they’re expensive. The Patriots only play 10 games at Gillette each season (2 pre-season, 8 regular season, playoffs not included). It seats 68,756, which is about 20th in the league in terms of size.
The Pats streak of consecutive sellouts was 170 games heading into the 2010 season. It began in 1994, the year that one-time season ticket holder Robert Kraft bought the team. The streak includes all preseason, regular season and postseason games since Sept. 4, 1994.
There’s a season ticket waiting list of 50,000 people. It costs $100 to join the waiting list. Get the idea? Demand is extremely high. Revs tickets aren’t nearly as tough to come by.
However, where there’s a will (and money) there’s a way.
You could find a season ticket holder who’s not going to a game and buy those tickets from him/her. However, if you misbehave, the season ticket holder could lose his/her tickets for good.
There’s also Ticketmaster and TicketExchange. You need to be a season ticket holder or a wait list member to use the TicketExchange service. You can also try FanSnap , SeatGeek, Ace Ticket, StubHub and Craigslist. StubHub is secure, but you’ll pay high service fees. You can find some deals on Craigslist just days before a game, but be careful. Don’t click on any links that don’t list the price of the tickets. It’s also buy at your own risk; there have been plenty of ticket scams run on Craigslist.
According to a September 2010 Team Marketing Report (pdf) on NFL ticket prices, the Patriots have the most expensive tickets in the league at nearly $118 each. So how much are tickets at face value?
The most expensive seats are the lower level sidelines (the blue seats) at $169 a piece.
The cheapest are the on the top deck in the end zone. They’re $65 each.
Check the Gillette Stadium Seating Map for a complete breakdown of prices.
How about standing during plays – even to cheer? Some fans claim a stadium official will ask you to sit down. The Patriots insist they don’t have a policy that fans can’t stand. This was a hot topic on Felger & Massarotti in September after Tom Brady called out Pats fans who leave games early.
Alcohol Free Sections
These can be found in sections 225 and 238 on the second level.
HOW MUCH FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR?
A day at the game for a family of four will cost nearly $600 at Gillette, according to the September 2010 Team Marketing report (pdf).
Here’s how it breaks down:
Tickets: $471.36 (4 @ $117.84 each)
Beer: $14.80 (2 small @ $7.40 each)
Soft Drink: $16 (4 small @ $4 each)
Hot Dog: $15 (4 @ $3.75 each)
Programs: $10 (2 @ $5 each)
Caps: $29.90 (2 @ $14.95 each)
Only the Cowboys ($617.80) and Jets cost more ($598.56)
FOOD & DRINK
There are 46 permanent concession stands and 60 portable ones located throughout the stadium.
Check: Gillette Stadium concessions guide (pdf)
Esquire Magazine rated food at all 31 NFL stadiums in September 2010. Gillette finished 25th. They rated the tailgating as “fantastic” but ripped the $9 “value” meal at the McDonald’s stands. In an ESPN investigation in July 2010 on stadium vendor inspection reports, Gillette had ZERO vendors with critical violations, compared to four-percent at Fenway Park and 21-percent at the TD Garden.
Tip: If you’re not tailgating, save some money and eat at one of the 17 restaurants in Patriot Place before or after the game. (We would recommend THIS PLACE)
The Patriots don’t have an official list of items and prices available for games, but the Revolution has one for their games and it’s cheaper:
Davio’s Cheesesteak Rolls – $9.50
Hand Cut French Fries – $4
Chicken Nuggets – $6.75
Hot Dogs – $2.50 ($3.75 at a Patriots game)
16oz Soda – $2
Pizza by the slice – $2.50
32oz Popcorn – $2
Small Pretzel – $2
Small Fry – $2.25
Small Cotton Candy – $2.50
Chicken Tender and Fries – $4
AT THE STADIUM
There are three entry points to Gillette Stadium:
The Bank of America Gate, located in the northwest corner of the stadium.
The Patriot Place Plaza, located on the north side of the stadium.
The uBid.com Gate, located in the southwest corner.
Check: Stadium Rules of Conduct
Have a problem or need help? Gillette Stadium uses the GuestASSIST text message service. Send a text to 78247 with the issue and your location. If it’s a conduct problem, the first word in your text message needs to be CONDUCT.
Can’t Afford a Game?
If you can’t afford to go to a Patriots game, but would like to see the stadium, there are several other ways. You could watch the Revolution play one of their 18 home games there, or bundle up and go to the high school super bowls in December. College football arrived at Gillette for the first time in October 2010 with the Colonial Clash between UMass and UNH. There are also concerts and private events throughout the year.
The Patriots do not offer public tours of Gillette Stadium. “Our Hall of Fame is what satisfies that curiosity,” Patriots executive director of media relations Stacey James told WBZ.
PATRIOTS HALL OF FAME
This is worth the trip for football fans, especially if you can’t afford to go to a game. Admission is $10. It’s open seven days a week, except on game days (they use it for private functions), but that could change.
The Hall filled with interactive exhibits and experiences. In fact, it’s now hosting field trips for schools, based on some of the math and science components involved in the tour.
The re-enactment of the “Snow Bowl” where you get to play Adam Vinatieri and kick a football in a virtual, snowy Foxboro Stadium.
The “You Make The Call” exhibit, where you go under the hood and review plays like an NFL referee in a game-used field review station.
There are also interactive displays on high school football around New England and a history of football in New England from the Providence Steamrollers to Harvard-Yale to Doug Flutie.
On the last stop of the tour, you’ll see the three Lombardi trophies and get the chance to try on a Super Bowl ring. Just like Disney World, at the end the exit leads you straight into the Patriots gift shop, where you’ll feel the need to buy something. The Pro Shop has everything Patriots and quite a bit of Revolution gear as well.
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