SBD/May 4, 2012/Franchises

Red Sox' Home Sellout Streak Continues Despite "Hundreds" Of Unsold Tickets

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Red Sox can include hundreds of complimentary tickets in sellout totals
The Red Sox, who have sold out 723 consecutive home games through Wednesday, "embrace an alternate definition that permits them to declare a game sold out even if hundreds of tickets go unsold but others are distributed for free," according to a front-page piece by Hohler & Lakso of the BOSTON GLOBE. Red Sox Exec VP & COO Sam Kennedy said, "I can understand the confusion. But we operate by a definition that is commonly practiced throughout Major League Baseball and professional sports." Hohler & Lakso note the Red Sox count the "total number of tickets they distribute, including an average of 800 complimentary tickets each game to charities and others, as the basis for a sellout." They also count "standing room tickets toward the total." By giving away hundreds of tickets to Wednesday’s game and selling hundreds of other standing room tickets, the Red Sox "kept their streak alive despite reporting a paid attendance of 37,434 -- 61 seats shy of capacity." At 9:35pm ET Wednesday, in the seventh inning of the game against the A’s, the Red Sox "cut off ticket sales at Fenway Park with an estimated 300 seats unsold." At 10:19pm the team announced that the game "was sold out." In a "sequence of events that raised questions about the authenticity of the prized streak, the Sox stopped selling tickets for the game first at the ticket office on Yawkey Way when the game began, then at Gate E an hour later, and finally at Gate A deep into the game, with a sales clerk telling a Globe correspondent at each closing that tickets remained available." Kennedy said that the Red Sox "do not give away tickets to keep the streak alive." He added that the team "generally gives away far fewer tickets than other major league teams because of Fenway’s small size and the high demand for tickets." He said that the "average paid attendance last year was 37,714, which exceeds the seating capacity, and includes standing room." Hohler & Lakso note that overall, Red Sox tickets "remain among the hottest in baseball." The team has sold "22,158 season tickets, with a waiting list of 8,500." However, interest in single game tickets "has lagged, which has been evident in the resale market." Ace Ticket President & CEO Jim Holzman, whose company is the Red Sox' official secondary ticketing company and also a team sponsor, said that contrary to popular opinion, Ace "plays no direct role in advancing the Sox sellout streak." Holzman said that his company "would never buy tickets the team cannot sell on game days" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/4). Meanwhile, New Hampshire's Waterville Valley Resort has signed a three-year sponsorship deal to become the "Official Mountain Resort" of the Red Sox through '14 (Waterville).
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