FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – The original owner of the New England Patriots now has a spot in the team’s Hall of Fame.

The late Billy Sullivan was inducted into the hall Tuesday by current Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Without Sullivan’s efforts, Kraft said, “the Patriots would not exist.”

Sullivan paid a $25,000 fee in 1959 to make the then-Boston Patriots one of the eight original American Football League franchises. The team had no permanent home in its early years, playing in several Boston-area venues before a permanent stadium was built in Foxborough, Mass., in 1970.

Sullivan owned the franchise until 1988, when he sold it to Victor Kiam. He died in 1998.

Sullivan is the first contributor named to the team’s Hall of Fame, which includes 13 retired players.

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