Kraft Sports Group Chief Operating Officer, Jim Nolan, joined Zolak & Bertrand to break down changes Patriots fans can expect at Gillette Stadium in 2023.


1. You can GET PAID to park!

Marc Bertrand: We’re getting ready, obviously, for the the true reveal of all the stadium upgrades that have happened over the course of the last year plus. So what should people expect if they haven’t been to the stadium since all this work started and they’re getting ready to go to the game on Sunday?

Jim Nolan: Yeah. I mean, there’s quite a few layers to it. First, I guess I would start with parking. So new for this year, parking is free for all patrons who come and park in Gillette Stadium lot. So when people are coming down, if they park in P10 or P11, they pay nothing, they drive in. The rationale behind that is one of our biggest pinch points used to be gates and getting in, but we solved that with technology over the past two years. But traffic has always been an issue on Route one and by making the lots free, we take out the biggest pinch point. So you don’t have to stop at a parking booth to pay. You drive right into the lot and for the past couple of seasons, we’ve had a free option if you stayed for an hour and 15 minutes post-game. So obviously, if parking’s free for everyone, there’s no value to that. So what we did is we enhanced that program and we’ll now pay you to park. So we’ll be the only venue in the country where someone can get paid to park their car. So specifically, if you park in this lot, you wait one hour and 15 minutes before you leave, and when you arrive, we give you a $50 visa gift card that’s usable anywhere Visa is accepted. You know, so if someone used it for, you know, all ten games, when we have ten home games, you know, it’s a $500 value to the customer. But for everyone else, with people who park there, it’s less cars that are trying to get on the road immediately after the game. So, you know, we think we can improve the experience for all through each of these measures. So that’s something new that everyone will see when they come down here.

  • 2. Impact of the new lighthouse

    New Gillette Stadium Lighthouse

    Scott Zolak: You see the lighthouse when you drive by, what is the foot traffic pattern if any that has changed around that area for fans able to access gates from the north?

    Jim Nolan: I think the biggest thing is and you know Zo, we started doing it last year, but we’ve moved the security line out from where it used to be right next to the pro shop. So we do the security screening first and we’ve actually expanded that plaza significantly. The the new plaza is over six acres of land. So what you’ll do is you’ll be screened as you come into the plaza, and then we’re going to have three ticket points of entry. One at our new grand stairs, you know, which comes up right behind the lighthouse. One is behind the pro shop, which is also ADA access to ADA elevators, and then one which is our Ticketmaster ramp, is as soon as you come through, the security screening is on your left and what it does is it spreads out both the security process and the ticketing process to make it much easier for fans coming in from the north to get into the building. You know, but the grand stairs, once you take the grand stairs up, it brings you to our 100 level, literally right beneath the lighthouse where we’ve added a ton of new fan amenities. When you arrive on the 100 level, we have three new food and beverage locations and we have three new bars, you know, all situated to create a communal space in the middle and each of these locations will have some new things that we haven’t served at Gillette Stadium before and then also some old favorites.


  • 3. How do you get to the top of the lighthouse?

    Marc Bertrand: Jim, question that I’ve heard from people is how do they get to the top of the lighthouse? Is it open on game days? What’s the status of taking a lighthouse tour?

    Jim Nolan: So the good news for everybody is later, you know, fairly shortly we’re going to announce, the details around the lighthouse. The lighthouse is going to be open year round to the public. You know, starting starting fairly shortly, we’re going to have a release pretty soon on that. Once that date is set, literally anybody can come down to Gillette Stadium and go up to the top of the lighthouse. On game days, just because of the number of people we can get up there, it’s going to be fairly limited to what we can do. But we’re really excited to roll it out to Patriot Nation across New England and across the world. So when you come down here to enjoy Patriot Place, you’ll be able to go to the top of the lighthouse and have an amazing view, you know, down into the south end zone and the whole field.

  • 4. What are some of the new food favorites?

    Bud Light

    Inside the tunnel adjacent to the Bud Light Celebration Beer Hall.

    Scott Zolak: What are some of the new favorites?

    Jim Nolan: One of our locations iss called the Beacon Market and in the beacon market, we have new frying technology that all the big fried food chains use. I won’t name them, but we’re going to have a fried chicken sandwich, which I have tested, and it’s delicious. We’re going have a beef brisket sandwich. We’re going to have a pulled pork sandwich and we’re going to have mac and cheese with pulled pork. And at each of these locations, we’re also going to have healthy options, too. So, you know, we’re going to have salads and wraps and other things. For folks who’ve been down here before, these are more like the the markets that we’ve had on the 100 level. Just with different options.

  • 5. Fans will be able to pour their own beers

    Doctor's Island Beer - Hull, MA

    Doctor’s Island Beer – Hull, Massachusetts.

    Jim Nolan: I think my favorite is going to be The Takeaway Tavern. You’re going to be able to pour your own beer. And in in these locations, over the course of the month, we’re rolling out what is the technology called Zip In, which is kind of the just walk out technology, you know, where you’ll scan your credit card on the way in, you’ll pick up your items and you literally just walk out. So it’ll be much faster. But in The Takeaway Tavern, first of all, you can pour your own beer, which is really cool on a game day and then as you walk around, you can grab a smashed burger, which is top notch. So in that location we’ll have smashburger and french fries, of course. And then, you know, a big favorite at Gillette are the fried chicken tenders. So that’s a location. If you’re looking to grab a beer and grab a burger and do it really quickly, come find the Takeaway Tavern.

  • 6. What’s the technology behind pouring your own beer?

    Brew Woo beer fest

    Marc Bertrand: It’s just like a soda machine. Yeah, it’s go up and get your own.

    Jim Nolan: No, you can’t do that. It’s a controlled pour, so you can’t top it off. But as we do with all alcohol servers in Gillette Stadium, it’s monitored. And so it will have the same, you know, our same attention to detail will go into that place. But it just kind of unique where you get to physically pour your own beer in an NFL Stadium.

    Scott Zolak: Is it a special cup? Does it have a chip in it that like when you place it down… I’ve seen it. It’s like Pittsburgh has these.

    Jim Nolan: There’s no chip in our cups, you know, so what you do is you pop the cup underneath the system and then you hit a button and it pours the exact amount. So on a 24 ounce cup, it’s going to pour 24 ounces of beer. And like I said, then you can’t you can’t top it off. But with the Zip In technology, once we, you know, we check your ID, we check your sobriety before your beer, you’re just literally going to walk out the door.

  • 7. Any tips for Tom Brady’s return?

    Marc Bertrand: Any details you can share about the event? Just a little something…

    Jim Nolan: What I can say… it is going to be a halftime ceremony, just so fans know it’ll be a halftime ceremony, but we would anticipate the fans seeing him somewhere on the field pre-game. That’s about all I have for you guys today.


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