The upgrades and changes to Gillette Stadium just keep on coming.
Barely a month after work kicked off on a $225-million renovation project at the Foxborough, Mass., football and soccer venue, owner Kraft Group—which also owns the New England Patriots football team and Major League Soccer's New England Revolution, is eyeing another round of alterations with Gillette named as a host sites for the World Cup soccer event in 2026.
To meet the requirements of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), soccer’s international governing authority, Gillette committed in its bid to temporarily removing seats in the stadium corners, a spokesperson for the New England Revolution confirmed in an email.
Adam Klionsky, director of communications, said it is too early to say how many seats this would involve, the amount of space freed up, cost or who would do the work.
However, based on what happened in 1994, when the old Foxboro Stadium hosted World Cup games, stadium corner seats would have to be removed with jackhammers.
The additional space is needed, in turn, to accommodate space for extra securitym media and other personnel and equipment that will be present at a major international sporting event.
While the field itself is large enough for World Cup standards, artificial turf will also have to be replaced with soil.
Suffolk Construction earlier this year began work on the largest suite of renovations at Gillette since it opened in 2002.
At the north end of the stadium, Suffolk is building 75,000 sq ft of glass-enclosed year-round function and hospitality space.
The stadium’s signature lighthouse will be replaced by a new and improved version that will rise 218 ft and include a 360° observation deck, while the fan entrance at the stadium’s north end will also be revamped.
A centerpiece of the project is the new, high-definition video board measuring 370 ft by 60 ft. At 22,200 sq ft, the video board will be just over half an acre in size and will be the largest outdoor stadium videoboard in the country, according to a Suffolk press release.
Other infrastructure investments could be needed for each World Cup host city.
Brian Bilello, head of the Gillette Stadium World Cup bid group and president of the New England Revolution, said the stadium and region will be ready for the event.
"For the next four years, it's really about making sure we're ready to host the world," Bilello said at a bid watch party, in comments reported by the Associated Press.