10 Years Later, Gillette Stadium Still a Great Venue

Ian Logue
August 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm ET

Here’s a photo taken on the opening night at Gillette Stadium back in 2002 and now nearly a decade later, it’s still one of the best venues in the NFL. (Photo taken by Ian Logue)

It’s been 10-years since fans sat on metal bleachers, and Gillette Stadium is still clearly the biggest upgrade of the Robert Kraft as owner of the New England Patriots.

There were four stadiums which opened in 2002, with the Patriots, Seahawks, Lions, and Texans all enjoying new venues that year.  Sports Business Daily has a good look back at the facility here in New England, pointing out that a decade later no real physical upgrades have been necessary and that it’s still a terrific stadium for fans.

2010 did see one major upgrade, which was the addition of brand new video screens located in both endzones.  Otherwise, not much has really changed.

The article also mentions the fact that the recent technology enhancements extend to wireless upgrades, with three distributed antenna systems having been added to improve coverage for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon customers. This year, Gillette Stadium is also reportedly one of five NFL facilities testing stadiumwide Wi-Fi access.

With the Patriots set to open their 2012 exhibition season tonight at home, this article got me thinking back to the first ever preseason game played in that venue, which was against the Philadelphia Eagles back on August 17th, 2012.

I was there for the first home preseason game thanks to my friend Dwayne, who is one of our original members of our site and messageboard and it was quite an experience.  Granted it wasn’t Tom Brady’s best game (he finished 11-of-19 for 116 yards and two interceptions), but fortunately it was “just an exhibition game” and they escaped with a 16-15 win.

However, that night it was all about the fact that Foxboro Stadium was just a memory and in its place was a beautiful new football venue.

You can read my take from that evening in this piece from 2002.

  • AZPatsFan

    Gillettte when opened was the smallest of all the stadia in the AFC
    East. In the intervening time the Jets have gotten an even bigger stadium which seats 88,500. Some 20,000 more seats to fill and eventually swamp the Patriots with those extra revenues. The Dolphins have trouble selling out their stadium but winning will make their 75,000 seats once more an avidly sought resource. Even depressed Buffalo, seats many more than in Gillette, in their older, magnified Schaefer model.

    In addition, the Razor is way too open. Fans come, stay sedate, and generate little NOISE. The primetime seats are filled with the wine and cheese set, there more to be seen, rather than to see… the Patriots.

    For all its primitiveness, Old Schaefer was an experience, that engendered fan enthusiam. There was not enough rooom to sit on, even if you wanted to freeze your butt on ice cold metal benches. You couldn’t sit if you wanted to, as everyone else was standing, too.

    I believe that Gillette needs to be expanded, and probably in the Endzones, so that there is more opportunity for a “Dog Pound” effect. Lower priced seats for the dedicated fan who can only afford to make an occasional trip to Gillette very occasionally, and hence are full of infectious enthusiam when they do.