SBD/April 13, 2012/Franchises

Red Sox' Sellout Streak At Fenway Park Could Be In Jeopardy With Team's Poor Play

The Red Sox have sold out every game at Fenway Park since May '03
Following the Red Sox' collapse last September and "poor start to this season, ticket sales have slowed, putting the" team's sellout streak "in jeopardy and curbing prices in the resale market," according to Peter Schworm of the BOSTON GLOBE. Even as Fenway Park celebrates its 100th season, plenty of seats "remain for many games this season, a clear step down from the frenzied demand of a few years ago." On resale sites, reasonably priced seats "remain for even Friday’s home opener, a perennially tough ticket." The Red Sox consider a game a sellout when "paid and complimentary tickets equal capacity, so the streak could continue even if paid attendance falls slightly short." Capacity is 37,495 for night games and 37,067 for day games, when the team "closes a section of the center-field bleachers to improve visibility for batters." The Red Sox have sold 2.66 million tickets "so far this season, roughly 2 percent off last year’s pace." Red Sox Exec VP & COO Sam Kennedy said that the front office is "watching sales closely, particularly with the team stumbling out of the gate, but remains confident the first slate of home games will sell out." The drop-off in sales "signals that the runaway popularity that sustained the sellout streak since 2003, a span that saw the Sox make the playoffs six times, is tapering off." Author and Red Sox historian Glenn Stout said that he "believes the sellout streak will continue this season, with sales propped up by the centennial fanfare around Fenway, the league’s oldest park and a baseball mecca." Stout said, "It’s difficult to overestimate the pull Fenway Park has for people across the country. There are more fans of Fenway Park than there are Red Sox fans’’ (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/13). In Massachusetts, Mike Fine wrote the "pitiful start by the team they have assembled could serve to scuttle not only the opening-day goodwill that’s usually oozing, but it could also hit them in the pocketbooks, where they’re looking at a 712-game sellout streak." Make that 713 after "opening day, but lingering resentment by the fans over last September’s collapse and the subsequent charges of player indifference, coupled with the current start, aren’t going to make the natives very happy" (Quincy PATRIOT LEDGER, 4/12).

HOW OLD IS TOO OLD? In Boston, Steve Buckley notes while fans in other cities have "demanded new ballparks, Red Sox fans continue to pay top dollar for the privilege of squeezing themselves into a ballpark that was built for people who were born in the 19th century." While current Owners Fenway Sports Group are "solid citizens, they shouldn’t get a pass on passing off this antiquated ballpark on loyal fans." The Red Sox are to be "applauded for the many fine renovations they have made at Fenway Park over the years, but each new luxury suite and each new concessions stand and each new coat of paint only puts off the day in which a new Fenway Park will open." The Red Sox remain "stuck in the mud, filing into a ballpark fit for tourists and glitterati, but no longer suitable for real fans" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/13).
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Boston Red Sox, Franchises

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