When Gillette opened in May, 2002, it was called CMGI Field. CMGI went under and it became Gillette Stadium. The first two events in Gillette were soccer games, including a double-header with the U.S. facing the Dutch Men’s National Team. I was at both of these events.
You can tell this isn't the old Foxboro immediately. As you approached that stadium from Boston, you saw the seating sections and a two-story warehouse-looking structure that served as club seating and offices. One of the first things you see as you approach Gillette is "The Lighthouse," a metal skeletal representation of the traditional lighthouses that are famous along the New England coastline. Supposedly the lighthouse shoots a beam into the sky. The exteriors of the sidelines show off the large glass promenades with Patriot scenes visible on the inside wall.
On the inside, Gillette Stadium is just as attractive. Situated below the Lighthouse you see the lower walkway is an arched bridge and by field level, there are sculpted rocks, again made to look like a New England coastal scene.
For watching an actual sporting event, this place is much better. The benches are a thing of the past. Where old Foxboro had minimal scoreboard and information facilities, Gillette has two large information/video boards; one in each end zone. They also have on the lip of the first tier an information strip which rolls scores, calls for cheers, and advertisements.
The facilities and walkways are better here too. There used to be one concourse with stairs leading up and down to the seating areas. Now the various levels have their own, wide walkways (although for these first soccer games, the upper levels were still closed off).
Where Foxboro housed few permanent vending facilities, the new stadium has counters all over the place. The cuisine styles are numerous, from local cuisine (i.e. seafood) to pizza to McDonalds. In the past, the Patriots/Revolution "Pro Shop" was its own seperate building that was inaccessable if you were in the stadium watching the game. Now it's built into the stadium itself, in the same corner as the Lighthouse, and is easy to visit during halftime. There are other merchandise counters throughout the park as well.
It may be coincidence that the new park opened around the same time the Revs and Pats made it to their respective championship games. Now that both teams are competitive though, it is nice to be able to watch the two teams in a state-of-the-art new facility.
Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
December 12, 2006
Because the New England Patriots are so popular amongst the locals, tickets to games are almost impossible to get. Tickets go on sale for home games in May and typically sell out within ten minutes for the whole season. Season tickets waiting lists are years long and expensive to be placed upon.
Online scalpers may be your best bet for games that you absolutely "need" to see in person, but you may have to auction some vital organs in order to be able to afford seats in the lower levels (going rate is about $300/ticket - even more expensive for popular games). For cheaper seats, the upper deck has several options, but you may not want to sit up there if you are at all scared of heights due to the steepness of the seats. Standing room is also a cheaper option, but is still around $100/ticket without any guarantee that you'll be able to see. What a racket!
Prices aside, Gillette Stadium is truly a nice place to take in a game if you are a Patriots fan or even if you're cheering for one of their contenders. Like other state-of-the-art stadiums of today, seating is not too uncomfortable, aisle layouts are spacious, and the concession stands offer anything you may want to eat or drink. Several chains like Starbucks and McDonald's have even made their way inside the stadium and set up shop. It seems sometimes like an outdoor mall instead of a football game.
Parking at the Stadium during game days is quite expensive (around $50/car). For cheaper options, park in one of the parking lots on Route 1 on your way to the stadium that offers $20 parking. It may be a hike, but you'll get out of the game's traffic quicker too after the game is over.
The Patriots fans are a passionate bunch, so if you go to Foxborough and aren't a fan be forewarned. Myself, I am a lifelong Detroit Lions fan, so for the game between the two teams I decked out completely in Lions paraphernalia. The Pats fans (including my boyfriend) gave me such a hard time that I had to cover up my Barry Sanders jersey with a jacket by the end of the first quarter. I guess there's something to be said for loyalty, even if it does manifest itself in rabid team pride. I nonetheless enjoyed my experience at Foxborough and would recommend it to anyone that is lucky enough to obtain tickets!
From journal Special Events in Massachusetts
by Emily Marie
Bronx, New York
December 11, 2003
From journal Baseball, Boston