On Nov. 16, 1959, William H. Sullivan, Jr. was awarded the eighth and final charter franchise of the American Football League. Sullivan, with nine other investors, sold non-voting public stock in the franchise to raise capital to help post the franchise fee of $25,000.
A public contest resulted in the naming of the team, which was known as the Boston Patriots for its first 11 seasons. During the 1960s, the Patriots played home games at stadiums throughout Boston, including Boston University Field, Fenway Park, Harvard Stadium and Boston College's Alumni Stadium. A year after the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the franchise moved to the newly-constructed Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. and the team was renamed the New England Patriots. In 1975, Sullivan purchased additional stock to become majority owner. In 1976, he purchased all the remaining non-voting stock in the team. In 1983, Schaefer Stadium was renamed Sullivan Stadium to honor Sullivan's contributions to the franchise. Sullivan owned the Patriots through 1988, when he sold the franchise to Victor Kiam. He remained team president through 1992.