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Snowstorms, Expectations, Excitement: Fans Recall Buying Season Tickets After Robert Kraft Bought the Team

When Robert Kraft bought the parking lots for Foxboro Stadium, he had a long-term goal in mind. A fan of the Patriots since his childhood, he was starting to make major moves to acquire the team. The parking lots were just the beginning, and he had his sights set on the stadium next. It might have been a tough fight to win the bid for the venue, but he was prepared to see his mission through. 

Once he had the foundation of his plan established, he witnessed the leadership of two subsequent owners of the team. Both of them had plans to move the team to another city, be it Jacksonville or St. Louis. It cost $172 million for Kraft to stop this from happening. When he finally purchased the Patriots in 1994, it was the most expensive price that had ever been paid for a professional sports franchise.  

By that point, he was all-in on the decision. Robert Kraft was ready to give the team everything they needed, whether it was in the form of an incredible coach or more generous contracts. Maybe his initial dedication was why people stood outside Foxboro on Feb 26, 1994. 

A Single-Day Sales Record 

There might have been a snowstorm on that fateful winter day, but that didn’t stop nearly 6,000 fans from lining up outside Foxboro to buy a season ticket for the Patriots. You can just imagine the buzz on the day that set a single-day sales record for the franchise. To this day, more than 8% of the original 6,000 people are still season ticket holders. Of course, even the most optimistic fans of the team couldn’t have predicted just how many victories there were in their future. 

On the Phone or In the Snow 

Long-time fan Steven Medeiros had always been a fan of the team, and he’d spent much of his college years cheering them on. Even after their loss to the Bears in 1985, Medeiros was hopeful about the future. Robert gave Medeiros even more reasons to root for his home team. As a young professional, he was only a few years out of college when he went for the tickets. It was one of the first luxuries he had given himself. 

It’s worth pointing out that season tickets were available over the phone. However, in practice, getting through to someone when there were thousands of other people trying to do the same thing was difficult (to say the least). Steven was able to purchase his tickets without having to trudge through the snow and scrape off his windshield.

Not everyone would share the same story. Fans Mark Lemieux and Mike Riu both had to venture outside to have their chance at season tickets. Riu remembers driving a half-hour from Newton. His memories were of going to about a half-dozen games a year with his brother after they both graduated from college. 

Once Robert Kraft took over, both Riu and his brother figured that the games were going to sell out. If they had any chance of keeping up the tradition, they were going to need season tickets. There was a buzz in the air when he stood in line. People were hoping that the new leadership would help turn the flailing team around. 

Lemieux said people had been hoping for this change in leadership. The previous coach, Bill Parcels, had led the team down some dangerous paths, and fans could see that there were changes that needed to be made. Once it was official, Lemieux had the same thought that Riu did: if he didn’t stand in line that day, it was unlikely he was going to get into another game. 

A Legacy of Fandom

Another fan, Don Noll, recalled driving to New Orleans in 1985 to see the New England Patriots square off against the Bears. He took his new Grand Prix, a pop-up trailer, and his friends along with him. While he didn’t know very much about Kraft or think very much about what new ownership could really mean for his team, he was thrilled at just how much Kraft was able to move the needle. 

Said Noll, “What they’ve done is amazing. What did they pay, like $172 million for the team? And now it’s worth billions. I mean, they built a dynasty. What they’ve done to the stadium and the area down here, with their charitable foundation, it’s amazing.” When Noll and his wife Janice were getting ready to name their son, he wanted either Drew or Brady (the pair went with Brady). His son is in his 20s now, and he’s been to two Super Bowls with his dad. It’s clear he’s not the only fan who has decades of stories to tell. 

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