Gillette Stadium is getting an expansive and expensive makeover.
A renovation project scheduled to be completed before the Patriots’ 2023 season will focus on the north end of the stadium, where the current lighthouse will be replaced by a new one larger in diameter and height, rising 218 feet and topped by a 360-degree observation deck/party space open year-round.
A multi-story glass-enclosed hospitality and function space will connect the stadium’s north-side seating bowls, with a revamped, landscaped fan entrance plaza, the Revolution said in a news release Friday.
Inside, a massive, curved video board the team said would be the largest outdoor stadium high-definition video board in the country will stretch across the newly enclosed area. Standing at 60 feet tall, its 370-foot width will be more than double the width of the football field dimensions, and its 22,200 square feet of video space will be close to twice the size of the stadium’s new south end zone video board.
Including improvements made to the south end last year, the Patriots said they are spending in excess of $225 million on the latest set of changes.
With Gillette entering its 20th year of existence, Jim Nolan, chief operating officer of Kraft Sports + Entertainment, said, “We believe that Gillette Stadium is better today than the day that it opened in 2002, and we believe this project over the next two years, coupled with the south end zone project we did in 2021, is another giant step forward for the stadium.
“It puts us in a position to arguably remain one of the best stadiums in the NFL on a go-forward basis as we enter our third decade.”
The current lighthouse will be taken down, with the new one in a different spot so it will be centered with regard to the end zones of the stadium.
Nolan said “you’re going to be close to seeing the top of the [John] Hancock tower [in Boston’s Back Bay] from that view.”
There will be 75,000 additional square feet of hospitality space, spread out over the three-story structure that will connect the seating bowls at all levels and built between the new lighthouse and the back side of the video board.
That video board, said Nolan, will be five times the size of the current north side video board. And it will be twice the size of the new south end video board, which was 70 percent bigger than the old one.
When the new video board goes up, the video board at the Jacksonville Jaguars’ TIAA Bank Field will have to settle for the second-biggest outdoor stadium video board honors.
The security lines and ticket entrance gates will be pushed northward toward the parking lots to allow for more space in that plaza to be used for game-experience activities.
The Kraft family, which owns the Patriots, Revolution, and Gillette Stadium, is privately financing the project, which is scheduled to be complete before the start of the 2023 NFL season.
Notably, that is three years before the 2026 men’s soccer World Cup, when the Kraft family hopes the stadium will be one of the North American sites for games. Requirements from FIFA for host stadiums include hospitality and logistical requirements that these enhancements are expected to meet.
Nolan said while the enhancements “certainly will help the World Cup bid,” the project was geared toward improving the Patriots and Revolution fans experience and also keeping the stadium ahead of the curve for NFL stadiums.
If the improvements also help the Patriots land an NFL jewel event, such as the Super Bowl or NFL Draft, in the future, that was not the intent, said Nolan.
The stadium opened in 2002, with the Kraft family spending $300 million on improvements over the past 20 years, according to the team.
The new project is not expected to be the last piece of real estate news to emerge from Kraft Sports + Entertainment in the near-term. A new downtown home for the Revolution has been in the works for several years, although a precise site has yet to be announced.
Michael Silverman can be reached at email@example.com.