During the 2010 season, the New England Patriots were positioned for a deep playoff run as the AFC’s number one seed but were upset by the rival New York Jets in the AFC Divisional Round at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 16, 2011.
The early postseason exit left local business owners expecting to cash in on another Patriots playoff run disappointed.
“Regardless of what time a year it is, we look forward to the prospect of hosting another game,” Mark Jeffery, general manager of the Renaissance Hotel and Spa at Patriot Place told Foxborough Patch following the Jan. 16, 2011 loss to the Jets. “I think most businesses here at Patriot Place will agree that [the 2010 postseason] was a missed opportunity."
By contrast, the Patriots – and local businesses - rebounded in 2011 with a Super Bowl run that went through Foxborough. The Pats earned the AFC’s top seed for the second straight season and hosted playoff games in the AFC divisional and championship rounds enroute to the team’s seventh Super Bowl appearance.
The two playoff games provided most local businesses with the type of additional revenue that was expected in 2010 … an expectation that has grown from record-setting success over the past decade and three Super Bowl championships (five appearances) since 2001.
On Sunday, the Patriots will be playing their 17th playoff game in Foxborough, which has many business owners in town eager to cash in on another year of football in January.
“When the Patriots are in the playoffs, it’s a home run,” Ron Young, owner of the Lafayette House told the Boston Globe in the Jan. 10 story, “For businesses near Gillette Stadium, home playoff game is a blessing or a curse.”
Young, according to the Globe’s Callum Borchers, will collect about $8,400 in parking fees alone on Sunday and with the game kicking off at 4:30 p.m., the Route 1 business owner expects many fans to drop in his restaurant for a meal prior to heading to the stadium.
Like Young, Greg Spier, property manager of the Pine Brook Office Park on Route 1 is happy the Patriots are back in the playoffs and playing January football at Gillette Stadium.
“A playoff game is like pennies from heaven,” Spier told Borchers, who reported the Pine Brook Office Park owner will collect about $7,500 in parking fees on Sunday.
While many business owners around Gillette Stadium cash in on game day, others are less enthusiastic because, in some instances, Patriots home games result in a loss of business.
“We’d certainly rather be open for business than open for parking,” Seasonal Specialty Stores manager Michael Small told the Globe. “Would it be better to sell pool tables and hot tubs? Absolutely.”
Motorcycles of Manchester South (MOMS) president Joel Wheeler echoed a similar sentiment.
“We definitely lose on game days,” Wheeler told the Globe. “If it’s a night game, it’s not so bad, but the day games hurt.”
The Globe reports that 38 private lots near Gillette Stadium will raise their parking fees to $60 per car Sunday, meaning, resulting in roughly $400,000 in additional revenue.
In addition to the parking revenue on game day, a single Patriots game brings nearly 70,000 people to Foxborough, which has a tremendous impact on local businesses and town revenue generated from the meals tax, hotel occupancy tax and ticket fees.
In 2011, the town collected $2,295,000 in ticket fees from Gillette Stadium, $400,000 on hotel occupancy tax (estimate based on 2011 hotel performance) and $250,000 in meals tax (sum of $114,000 from Gillette Stadium and an estimated $136,000 from Patriot Place tenants based on known revenues), according to figures provided by the Kraft Group.
Sunday’s game will be the 11th played at Gillette Stadium this season, including the preseason.
If fans – and local business owners – want to see a 12th game in Foxborough this season, the Patriots will need to beat the Houston Texans Sunday and hope the Baltimore Ravens can upset the Denver Broncos in Denver on Saturday. Otherwise the road to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans will go through Denver – regardless of what happens in Foxborough Sunday – and local business owners, like in 2010, will be cashing in on just one postseason game in 2012.
Love or hate game day in Foxborough, it certainly beats an empty stadium and vacant parking lots.