American Football Wiki
Foxboro Stadium
Foxboro Stadium
Location Foxborough, Massachusetts
Broke ground September 23, 1970
Opened August 15, 1971
Closed January 19, 2002
Demolished Winter/Spring 2002
Owner Foxboro Stadium Associates (former)
Surface AstroTurf (1971-90)
Grass (1991-2001)
Construction cost $7.1 million
Former names Schaefer Stadium (1971-1983)
Sullivan Stadium (1983-1989)
Tenants New England Patriots (NFL) (1971-2001)
New England Revolution (MLS) (1996-2001)
New England Tea Men (NASL) (1978-80)
FIFA World Cup (1994)
Capacity 60,292

Aerial view of Foxboro Stadium, with Gillette Stadium construction in bottom right.

Foxboro Stadium (originally Schaefer Stadium, formally Sullivan Stadium, commonly Foxborough Stadium) was an outdoor stadium, located in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Although the official spelling of the town's name is "Foxborough", the shorter spelling was used for the stadium.[1]


The stadium opened in August 1971 as Schaefer Stadium, primarily as the home venue for the renamed New England Patriots of the National Football League. The team was known as the Boston Patriots for its first eleven seasons 1960-70, and had played in various stadiums in the Boston area. For six seasons, 1963-68, the Patriots played in the venerable Fenway Park, home of baseball's Boston Red Sox. Fenway was poorly suited as a football venue and also had inadequate seating capacity 33,000 for baseball and only about 40,000 seats for football.

The Boston Patriots played the 1969 season at Alumni Stadium at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, and the 1970 season at Harvard Stadium in Boston's Allston neighborhood.

The site was selected when the owners of Bay State Raceway donated the land needed. It is midway between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island. Ground was broken in September 1970.

It was built in less than 11 months at an announced cost of $4,000,000, (later determined to be about $7.1 million, or $37.5 million in 2007 dollars) a very small amount, even at the time, for a major sports stadium. This was because the Patriots received no funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the town of Foxborough. Because of this, and also the era in which it was designed and built, it had very few amenities—the type that became commonplace at football stadiums a short time later—such as individual seating, "club seats", luxury suites, and deluxe locker rooms for the teams.

Playing surface[]

Like the majority of outdoor sports venues built in the U.S. in the 1970s, Foxboro Stadium was designed for the use of an artificial turf playing surface. When this practice fell out of favor in the 1990s due to the supposed higher rate of injuries resulting from play on the artificial surface, the field's surface was replaced by natural grass before the start of the 1991 season, as it was at many other facilities. At Foxboro Stadium the replacement grass field never seemed to drain properly, resulting in the playing surface often becoming a quagmire during wet playing conditions

Naming rights[]

The original name in 1971 was Schaefer Stadium for the brewery of that name in an early example of the sale of naming rights. When this agreement expired in 1983, Anheuser-Busch took over the rights, but instead of putting the name of one of its brands of beer on the stadium, agreed to name it Sullivan Stadium in honor of the family who was at the time the majority owners of the Patriots. Only after the Sullivan family sold their majority interest in the team did it actually become known officially as Foxboro Stadium.

Notable events[]

The venue hosted six games in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, five in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup, the 1996 and 1999 MLS Cups, the inaugural Founders Cup, as well as the WWF King of the Ring tournament in 1985 and 1986.

The stadium also served as the venue at times for the home football games of Boston College and hosted numerous other outdoor events, primarily concerts, along with music festivals, including The Monsters of Rock Festival Tour and The Vans Warped Tour.

Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead recorded a portion of their collaborative live album, entitled Dylan & the Dead, here on July 4, 1987.

'N Sync were scheduled to perform during their Pop Odyssey Tour on May 30, 2001, but the show was cancelled.[2]


By the late 1990s Foxboro Stadium had become functionally obsolete in the modern NFL. The facility was built cheaply as a "bare bones" stadium and had very few modern amenities. It also lacked luxury boxes, a major source of revenue for other teams in the league, and most patrons had to sit on backless aluminum benches as only a small fraction of the stadium had actual seats (painted blue, red, and white near the 50-yard line). With a capacity of just over 60,000, it was one of the smallest stadiums in the NFL.

After 31 NFL seasons, Foxboro Stadium was demolished in January 2002, after the conclusion of the 2001 season (in which the Patriots won their first Super Bowl). The last game played in the stadium— "The Tuck rule game"—was played in a snow storm; a Patriots win against the Oakland Raiders, which famously featured an overturned fumble call based on the tuck rule in the final minutes. The stadium's former site became the parking lots of its successor, Gillette Stadium, before being developed into the open-air shopping center Patriot Place.

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