Schaefer Stadium

Schaefer Stadium

For the present stadium in Foxborough, see Gillette Stadium.
Foxboro Stadium
Former names Schaefer Stadium (1971-83)
Sullivan Stadium (1983-89)
Location Washington St. (Route 1)
Foxborough, MA 02035

42°5′33.72″N 71°16′2.79″W / 42.0927000°N 71.2674417°W / 42.0927000; -71.2674417Coordinates: 42°5′33.72″N 71°16′2.79″W / 42.0927000°N 71.2674417°W / 42.0927000; -71.2674417

Broke ground September 23, 1970
Opened August 15, 1971
Closed January 19, 2002
Demolished Winter/Spring 2002
Owner Foxboro Stadium Associates (former)
Operator Foxboro Stadium Associates (former)
Surface Grass (1991-2001)
AstroTurf (197x-90)
Poly-Turf (1971-7x)
Construction cost $7.1 million
($41.3 million in 2014 dollars[1])
Architect David M. Berg Associates Inc.[2]
General contractor J. F. White Construction[2]
Capacity 60,292
Football & Soccer
New England Patriots (NFL) (1971-2001)
New England Revolution (MLS) (1996-2001)
New England Tea Men (NASL) (1978-80)
MLS Cup '96
MLS Cup '99
FIFA World Cup (1994)

Foxboro Stadium (originally Schaefer Stadium, formerly Sullivan Stadium, commonly Foxborough Stadium) was an outdoor stadium, located in Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA. Although the official spelling of the town's name is "Foxborough", the shorter spelling was used for the stadium.[3]


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, 1963-1968, the Patriots played in the venerable Fenway Park, home of baseball's Boston Red Sox. Fenway was poorly suited as a football venue. Its seating capacity was inadequate--only about 40,000 for football--and many seats had obstructed views.

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. The General Contractor who built the stadium was a Massachusetts based company named J.F White Contracting Co. 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 for a major sports stadium even by 1970s standards. This was because the Patriots received no funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the town of Foxborough, a rarity for most sports stadiums. Additionally, like many stadiums built during that time, it was built very cheaply. Due to these factors, it had very few amenities — the type that became commonplace at football stadiums in the 1990s — such as "club seats", luxury suites and deluxe locker rooms for the teams.

Seating capacity

  • 61,114 (1971)[4]
  • 60,999 (1972)[5]
  • 61,279 (1973–1977)[6]
  • 61,297 (1978–1983)[7]
  • 60,890 (1984–1987)[8]
  • 60,794 (1988–1994)[9]
  • 60,292 (1995–2001)[10]

Playing surface

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,[11] 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.

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. However, instead of putting the name of one of its brands of beer on the stadium, Anheuser-Busch 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".[12]

Notable events

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 was also 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 the Guns N' Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour to the stadium on September 11, 1992, with Faith No More as their opening act.

Madonna performed her "Who's That Girl" tour here on July 9, 1987, to a sell out crowd. 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 (on one of the nights their inflatable pig was torn to shreds). They also played a three night sold out stand in May 1994 on their The Division Bell Tour which was recorded and readily available on bootleg. (The second night was filmed by MTV for promotional purposes.) The Dave Matthews Band played seven shows at the stadium from 1998 to 2001.

1994 FIFA World Cup matches

Date Time (EDT) Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Spectators
06-21-1994 12.30  Argentina 4–0  Greece Group D 54,456
06-23-1994 19.30  South Korea 0–0  Bolivia Group C 54,453
06-25-1994 16.00  Argentina 2–1  Nigeria Group D 54,453
06-30-1994 19.30  Greece 0–2  Nigeria Group D 53,001
07-05-1994 13.00  Nigeria 1–2 (a.e.t.)  Italy Round of 16 54,367
07-09-1994 12.00  Italy 2–1  Spain Quarterfinals 53,400


By the late 1990s, Foxboro Stadium had become functionally obsolete by modern NFL standards. While it had very good sight lines, it had little else going for it. The facility was built cheaply as a "bare bones" stadium and had very few modern amenities. It also lacked luxury boxes, an increasingly important source of revenue for other teams in the league. Most patrons had to sit on backless aluminum benches, as only a small fraction of the seats had chairbacks (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. It was also almost completely exposed to the elements, meaning that there was almost no protection for the fans late in the season. During particularly cold winters, the benches froze. Additionally, the Sullivan family had lost millions promoting the Jackson Victory Tour in 1984, and the revenue from the Patriots was not nearly enough to service the debt--a factor that forced the Sullivans to sell the stadium to Robert Kraft in 1988. This also forced the Patriots themselves to be sold three times in less than a decade--from the Sullivans to Kiam in 1989, from Kiam to James Orthwein in 1992, and from Orthwein to Kraft in 1994.

After 31 NFL seasons, Foxboro Stadium was scheduled to be demolished on December 23, 2001, the day after the Patriots' final home game. However, the Patriots made a stunning run to get into the playoffs, so the stadium wasn't demolished until late January 2002, after the conclusion of the 2001 postseason (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 now-abolished 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 references

External links

  • Schaefer Stadium and The Great Flush
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

Template:MLS Stadiums

Template:Defunct NFL stadiums