For the present stadium in Foxborough, see Gillette Stadium.
Foxboro Stadium
Former namesSchaefer Stadium (1971-83)
Sullivan Stadium (1983-89)
LocationWashington St. (Route 1)
Foxborough, MA 02035
Flag of the United States.svg.png United States
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Broke groundSeptember 23, 1970
OpenedAugust 15, 1971
ClosedJanuary 19, 2002
DemolishedWinter/Spring 2002
OwnerFoxboro Stadium Associates (former)
SurfaceGrass (1991-2001)
AstroTurf (197x-90)
Poly-Turf (1971-7x)
Construction cost$7.1 million
($38.5 million in 2020 dollars[1])
Football & Soccer
New England Patriots (NFL) (1971-2001)
New England Revolution (MLS) (1996-2001)
New England Tea Men (NASL) (1978-80)
MLS Cup '96
FIFA World Cup (1994)

Foxboro Stadium (originally Schaefer Stadium, formerly 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.[2]


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, midway between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island. Ground was broken in September 1970, and 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 bargain price, 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 in the 1990s — such as individual seating, "club seats", luxury suites, and deluxe locker rooms for the teams.

During Kiam's ownership of the Patriots, ESPN anchor Chris Berman humorously referred to the facility as "Shaver Stadium", lampooning Kiam's ownership of Remington Razors.

Seating CapacityEdit

  • 61,114 (1971)[3]
  • 60,999 (1972)[4]
  • 61,279 (1973–1977)[5]
  • 61,297 (1978–1983)[6]
  • 60,890 (1984–1987)[7]
  • 60,794 (1988–1994)[8]
  • 60,292 (1995–2001)[9]

Playing surfaceEdit

Like the majority of outdoor sports venues built in North America in the 1970s, Foxboro Stadium was designed for the use of an artificial turf playing surface. The original field was Poly-Turf,[10] succeeded by AstroTurf. Artificial turf fell out of favor in the 1990s, due to the supposed higher rate of injuries resulting from play on the artificial surface. A natural grass field was installed 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 rightsEdit

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 Sullivan family, majority owners of the Patriots. After the family sold their majority interest in the team to Victor Kiam, the stadium was officially renamed "Foxboro Stadium."

Notable eventsEdit

The venue hosted numerous significant soccer matches, including 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.

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, as well as the WWF King of the Ring tournament in 1985 and 1986.

Metallica and Guns N' Roses brought their co-headlining Guns N' Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour to the venue on September 11, 1992, with Faith No More as their opening act.

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

Pink Floyd played a two night stand in May 1988 (one of the nights saw their inflatable pig being torn to shreds). Then played a three night sold out stand in May 1994 on their The Division Bell Tour which were recorded and readily available on bootleg (night number 2 was filmed by MTV for promotional purposes).

1994 FIFA World Cup matches Edit

Date Time (EDT) Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Spectators
1994-06-2112.30Flag of Argentina.svg.png Argentina4–022x20px GreeceGroup D54,456
1994-06-2319.3022x20px South Korea0–022x20px BoliviaGroup C54,453
1994-06-2516.00Flag of Argentina.svg.png Argentina2–122x20px NigeriaGroup D54,453
1994-06-3019.3022x20px Greece0–222x20px NigeriaGroup D53,001
1994-07-0513.0022x20px Nigeria1–2 (a.e.t.)Flag of Italy.svg.png ItalyRound of 1654,367
1994-07-0912.00Flag of Italy.svg.png Italy2–1Flag of Spain.svg.png SpainQuarterfinals53,400


By the late 1990s Foxboro Stadium had become functionally obsolete by modern NFL standards. 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.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2008. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  2. Ask PFW: Winning vs. whining
  3. Will McDonough (September 3, 1972). "Bell Hopes Patriots Knock 'Em Around". Boston Globe.'em+around&pqatl=google.
  4. Al Harvin (October 16, 1972). "Riggins, Boozer Combine for 318 Yards; Jet Ground Game Crushes Patriots". New York Times. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
  5. "Patriot Goal: Field Winner". Rome News-Tribune. April 11, 1976.,3033909&dq=en.
  6. "Shoulder May Keep Griese From Returning This Year". Palm Beach Post. April 1, 1981.,442878&dq=en.
  7. "Hannah May Miss Jets". The Lewiston Journal. October 26, 1984.,3425192&dq=en.
  8. "AFC East". USA Today. September 2, 1988.
  9. Bill Plaschke (September 11, 1995). "Dolphins Have Few Problems in 20-3 Victory". Los Angeles Times.,580030&dq=en.
  10. Sports Illustrated - "Rug" - Scorecard - 1971-10-18

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Harvard Stadium
Home of the
New England Patriots

1971 – 2001
Succeeded by
Gillette Stadium
Preceded by
first stadium
Home of the
New England Revolution

1996 – 2001
Succeeded by
Gillette Stadium
Preceded by
Rose Bowl
Host of the MLS Cup
Succeeded by
RFK Stadium
RFK Stadium
Preceded by
Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium
Host of the
Drum Corps International
World Championship

Succeeded by
Rich Stadium
Preceded by
Three Rivers Stadium
Host of AFC Championship Game
Succeeded by
Three Rivers Stadium

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