Thursday, October 11, 2012
Sullivan Stadium (Foxboro Stadium), 1 Patriot Place, Foxborough, MA
In 1971, Schaeffer Stadium was constructed for a little more than $6 million. The name has changed (twice), but for the past 29 seasons the "home" venue has remained the same.
William H. "Billy" Sullivan, to ensure the long-term viability of pro football in New England, established one of the nation's first naming-rights agreements in 1970 when he persuaded Schaefer Brewing Co. to put its name on the facility. The price: a whopping $150,000.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Jerry performed here on
7/4/87 Grateful Dead Bob Dylan (Sullivan Stadium)
7/2/89 Los Lobos Grateful Dead (Sullivan Stadium)
7/14/90 Grateful Dead (Foxboro Stadium)