Patriots' stadium cost up 30% to $325M, Red Sox see no omen for Fenway
By Meg Vaillancourt, Globe Staff, 04/19/00
As they unveiled the design for their new stadium yesterday, the New
England Patriots promised football fans a "pleasure palace" with individual
molded plastic seats, expanded concessions and meeting areas, and triple the
number of restrooms.
In Foxborough, a state-of-the-art football facility. F1.
But along with the amenities came sticker shock:
It will cost team owner Robert Kraft $325 million to build the privately
financed stadium in Foxborough - a 30 percent price increase over the $250
million the Patriots had predicted just a year ago.
Yesterday, critics of the Red Sox's proposed new $600 million ballpark
project tried to use the Patriots as ammunition in the battle against a new
Fenway Park, arguing that a comparable increase would raise the price of the
Red Sox project to more than $800 million.
"And that's a real low-ball figure, based on boondoggles of the Big Dig and
the new Boston convention center," said Peter Catalano of Fenway Action
Coalition, a leading opponent of the Red Sox plan. The Patriots, however,
dismissed the analogy, saying it's "comparing apples to oranges."
The Sox said they have already taken into account escalating construction
costs and interest rates.
The project will include a new ballpark, two parking garages, major
infrastructure improvements, and the acquistion of 14 acres adjacent to
89-year-old Fenway Park.
Nonetheless, Red Sox officials said the Patriots' experience was
instructive on one point: the high cost of delay. "We've said all along that
time is not our friend," said spokeswoman Kathryn St. John. "That's why we're
working so hard to get it approved before the Legislature adjourns this year,
so we can avoid the kind of delays that the Patriots faced and thus escalated
No public funds are being invested in the Patriots' new stadium. The
Patriots will pay the state $1.4 million a year for 25 years in exchange for
$70 million in state-funded road, utility and parking improvements in and
around the new stadium.
The Patriots have ruled out selling private seat licenses, but they plan to
sell stadium naming rights to help recoup their investment.
In a bow to the their fans' devotion to Fenway Park, the Red Sox have said
they do not want to sell naming rights or impose seat licensing on ticket
holders. But as the trust that controls the Red Sox seeks to secure sufficient
private financing, many sports financing experts believe the Red Sox may be
forced to adopt such measures.
The Patriots attributed the stadium price increase in Foxborough to their
own push for a state-of-the-art facility, including curving the sidelines so
every seat is angled toward the 50-yard line.
"We could have done it $250 million, but we decided to create the greatest
possible stadium for our fans," said vice president Jonathan Kraft. "No one
should compare the Patriots stadium with the Red Sox ballpark, because we're
building in the suburbs on land we already own. But we wholeheartedly support
the Red Sox quest for a new home, because after our long struggle, we
understand how important it is to the team."