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What Happend to the Patriots Fans in Gillette Stadium
I’ve been a Saints fan for a few years. Please let me explain. When you live in a geographic area, you usually manage for your local team, like I do for the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins. I have love for the Patriots. I was raised as a “Pats fan” and for years watched them win and lose at Gillette Stadium. But when you don’t attend a home team game in 7-10 years, they start losing the “home team feeling”. When I watch a game on TV and the stadium is empty after 3 quarters, I have the feeling of being disappointed with the fans who are now attending the games. I also realized that they are not the fans I have enjoyed sitting next to for years.
A few years ago I went to a Patriots game. It was a playoff game between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos. I sat on the top level and froze for three hours. Hot chocolate and adrenaline kept me on my feet and cheering for three hours. See, it was the New England Patriots AFC Championship!!! They won but would ultimately lose in the Superbowl to the Green Bay Packers. I haven’t been back since.
It was well worth the abuse my body took in one of the coldest games I have ever attended. The Patriots were on a nationally televised game (they had been banned from Monday Night Football for years), they were in the playoffs for the first time in a long time, the crowd was pumped the whole game, high fives were flying between the fans, and I lost my voice chanting Jam-Ba-Ly-A. I had served my time as a fan. I sat on Cold Aluminum Seating, watched games with low to no points, losses and below average quarterbacks tried to lead a team. As a teenager I attended these games with my uncle and loved every minute of it….. Sometimes they sometimes won the lost ones, but that cold, steamy night in Foxboro as “Big Play” Willie Clay returned to the end of the game. the interception to send the Pats to the Superbowl more than made up for those moments…
Flash-forward to today…if you want to attend a football game and you don’t have season tickets or don’t work for a sponsored company, you have 1 of two options. Fork out $200 or watch it from home. The fans seen on TV are not the crowd I’m used to seeing. They are gone before the fourth quarter or sooner if the score is lopsided either way. Guess it’s so they can beat the traffic back home… The traffic I’d wait in for hours after a game when Route 1 wasn’t the easily accessible highway that it is today or quick releases/routes dedicated to their “luxury box customers”. There is no more aluminum. There is an overwhelming majority of Pink Patriots baseball caps.
And the fans are spoiled! Is it because the Patriots have won 3 Super Bowls… I’m sure that’s part of it… But when I’m home and my team needs it, I literally scream at the TV.
Bob Kraft was a fan, he had his day, he sat on those aluminum seats. Why has he forgotten us? The Red Sox have the bleachers, the Bruins and Celtics have the upper decks, and they have 50-70 home games. In a given football season, you have 8 chances to attend a home game. The Patriots had the most expensive ticket for the past few years and the 2nd highest now only in Dallas and the Patriots got real football fans out of the stadium and into their homes. A Patriots football game is no longer about bad calls and De-Fence chants, it’s a place for business partner networking. Fair weather fans with the money to attend do it because it’s a status symbol when you have the money and the means to do so. The common fan is quite unable to attend. I’m not advising a free ticket or even a free ride I’m advising when all the seats are expensive or gobbled up by ticket agencies and sold for hundreds of dollars the type of fan that has the ability to attend a game is not the fan who has followed the Patriots for many years and we have few options.
What happened to my dear Foxboro? Bob Kraft was a fan; he was “one of us”… Sitting next to us in those aluminum seats (he made that very clear when he bought the team and when he won his first Superbowl.) Why? has he forgotten us?
The following is a quote from the Telegram that inspired me to write this. Many players have echoed this appeal to fans in the past (including Ted Johnson when he did his radio interviews on the Hillman Morning Show). I hope your organization will choose to make some changes…
“One reason is that Gillette Stadium is open at one end, allowing noise to escape. But who is sitting – or rather not sitting – in the seats is a bigger factor.
The second tier is almost entirely made up of club seating and populated by high rollers who have access to an indoor lounge. He usually sees a lot of action while the game is in progress.
Additionally, the average ticket price for a Patriots game is the second highest in the NFL and was the first in several years until Cowboys Stadium opened last season. It costs a number of hardcore (noisy) fans to get out of the building.”
I became a Saints fan when I watched the “Return to the Dome” game in New Orleans on Monday night. It was electric, it was emotionally charged, it was the football I was used to, it was football and I rode that wave all the way to the Super Bowl last year. Wanted to go back to Foxboro earlier in the preseason to watch the Saints-Pats preseason game. Tickets were 65.00…I didn’t write this as a complaint, just wanted to give you a fan’s perspective. I know there are options for your organization to do the right thing I know there are many ways to turn the fan base back into what it once was… Maybe a seating section reasonably priced, a call window to access those seats to avoid ticket machines…i have a few items that i use at home when i’m excited…my pride and joy is the vuvuzela (i use it at my house and it drives my fiancé and neighbors crazy but it works) I’m sure the good fanbase and a few thousand vuvuzelas would remedy the home team disadvantage your players suffered.
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