SBD/February 15, 2013/Franchises

Lucchino Says Red Sox' Sellout Streak Will End This Season, Possibly Second Game

Lucchino said the Red Sox are "concerned about generating revenue"
The Red Sox' sellout streak at Fenway Park "will end this season, perhaps as early as the second game," according to Peter Abraham of the BOSTON GLOBE. Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino on Thursday said, "It's going to rest in peace, I think, sometime in April." Abraham notes the Red Sox have listed 793 consecutive games "as sellouts," a record for MLB. The team "defines a sellout based on the number of tickets distributed, although in recent years empty seats have been plentiful at the park and available for sale into the middle innings." Lucchino: "Historically, for all of baseball, the second game of the season has been the toughest game to sell tickets for. It could be as early as that." He added, "I suspect it will be sometime in the first or second week." The Red Sox host the Astros for four games starting April 25. If the streak "survives that long, that series could kill it." Lucchino said, "There may be a reduction in ticket revenue. I don't think that's going to affect us if we have a winning team." Abraham notes Lucchino "forcefully defended team executives, saying all revenue produced is funneled back into the team." Lucchino said, "We are concerned about generating revenue, make no mistake about that. We're not embarrassed or apologetic about that." Lucchino: "As far as a television market, we're 22nd in all of baseball as far as TV homes. But we overproduce and generate revenue beyond that television market size" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/15). In Providence, Tim Britton writes Lucchino is "ready for the streak to end largely because he’s sick of defending it against claims of 'chicanery.'" He pointed out that Boston has "sold better than 99 percent of its available tickets over the last 11 seasons." That number "may drop this year, though." Lucchino: "Ticket sales are more challenging this year than they’ve been since the very first year we were here" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 2/15).

NOT FOR SALE: ESPN BOSTON's Joe McDonald noted since last season, there has been "speculation the Red Sox, or at least part of the franchise, was for sale." Lucchino and Owner John Henry have "denied that claim." Lucchino said, "We tried to say to those who asked that it was a false rumor. We didn't know where it came from, but if it's repeated a couple of times, it tends to gain a little credence, perhaps, but it has never been a consideration. I've never been in a meeting where anyone discussed the idea of us selling this team" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 2/14).

FALSE ADVERTISING? Lucchino said, "We’re just scrappy underdogs trying to win for our franchise and for our fans.” In Boston, Steve Buckley writes most Red Sox fans "understand the Sox are trying to field a representative team this season while holding onto and nurturing a promising collection of minor leaguers they hope will emerge as big stars." Now that Lucchino is branding the '13 Red Sox "as 'scrappy,' it’s as though expectations for this season are being tempered." Buckley: "And let’s face it, the whole 'scrappy underdog' thing hasn’t been what the Red Sox are selling on television, what with those non-stop, return-to-glory, '162 Chances to Restore the Faith' ads." The Red Sox "shouldn’t be selling 'scrappy' when such teams as the Houston Astros are handing out uniforms to starry-eyed kids" (BOSTON HERALD, 2/15).
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