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Kraft, Foxborough reach temporary deal on tickets revenue

There were plenty of seats at Gillette Stadium during a University of Massachusetts football game in November.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The town of Foxborough and the Kraft Group have reached a temporary agreement — a timeout, of sorts — in a dispute over interpretation of a longstanding lease agreement for Gillette Stadium.

The town owns the land beneath the stadium, and the Kraft Group, which owns the stadium and the New England Patriots football team, pays Foxborough a portion of the revenue from each ticket sold for games and other events there, according to Town Manager William Keegan.

The money — typically from $2 million to $3 million annually — represents a payment in lieu of taxes, he said.

In the past year, the Kraft Group made improvements to the stadium that included removing about 2,000 seats to make room for a new lounge area that is available to season-ticket holders for an additional fee. The stadium has close to 70,000 seats altogether.

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The town contended that it was losing money from the removed seats and was entitled to a portion — about $31,000 -— of the new revenue from the Optum Field Lounge, Keegan said. The Kraft Group disagreed.

But "in an attempt to amicably resolve the differences," said Keegan, the two sides have agreed to a one-year compromise that split the difference. As a result, the Kraft Group recently paid the town $15,595, he said.

Meanwhile, the town and the Kraft Group are working to touch down on a more lasting solution, he said.

The current lease includes a varying rate for every ticket sold, with the town getting $1.52 per ticket for professional football and soccer events and $2.64 for all other events, Keegan said.

The stadium, which opened in 2002, is the home field of the Patriots, New England Revolution soccer team, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst football team. The stadium also regularly hosts other sports and corporate events – as well as concerts by headliners such as Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift.

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The 16-story-high stadium encompasses 1.9 million square feet and was built with 6,300 pieces of blue steel, weighing 16,000 tons, according to the company website. The website also notes that on a typical Patriots' game day, fans consume more than one ton of Italian sausage and 186 gallons of clam chowder.


Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.