SBD/Issue 184/Facilities & Venues

Fenway Park Next Month Will Host First Soccer Match Since '68

Fenway Park To Host Int'l Friendly
For First Time In 42 Years

Fenway Park, the Red Sox and Fenway Sports Group will host an international soccer match on July 21 between Celtic of the Scottish Premier League and Sporting Clube de Portugal of the Liga Sagres. The first-ever "Fenway Football Challenge" marks the first soccer match to be held at the 98-year-old ballpark since '68, and 19th overall. FSG has signed Bank of America, Budweiser, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Gulf Oil, Lumber Liquidators and Nike as initial match sponsors, and sister company NESN will broadcast the match live. Tickets will go on sale June 22. "Having top-flight international soccer right on the heels of the World Cup was a concept that made a ton of sense for us," said FSG President and Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy. "We're obviously very optimistic about ticket sales, we have a plan, and we're going to be very aggressive in the marketplace. But to an extent, we really don't know how the market is going to react. We haven't had soccer here in more than 40 years." FSG pursued numerous international soccer teams to play in Fenway during late July after the World Cup's conclusion, as the Red Sox have only nine home games during the month. The Celtic-Sporting matchup ultimately was developed with the aid of CAA Sports. FSG also has a partnership with EPL club Fulham FC and would like to stage a match at the ballpark with that club, but Kennedy said its future international travel schedule remains uncertain (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Kennedy said, "It's been part of our strategy to bring high-profile, blue-chip events to Fenway as we come up to the 100th anniversary in 2012. We’ve been discussing different events that would make sense to bring to Fenway." The field will extend from "in front of the third base dugout toward the right field bullpen" (BOSTON HERALD, 6/8).

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