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SBD/October 23, 2013/Events and AttractionsPrint All
Secondary market interest in this year's Cardinals-Red Sox World Series has surged upward compared to last year, driven by both the return of the Red Sox to the Fall Classic after six years and continued, strong fan interest in St. Louis. Average resale listings were $1,291 per ticket, according to ticket aggregator TiqIQ, up 37% from a comparable time prior to last year's Giants-Tigers matchup. The average World Series ticket resale listing this year is the highest since Giants-Rangers in '10. The Fenway Park games this year are carrying an average listing price of $1,520 per ticket, while the Busch Stadium games are listing at an average of $963 per ticket. Lower-end, get-in ticket pricing is also up compared to last year, with get-ins this year pricing at $375, a 25% jump from '12. During the last Red Sox World Series appearance in '07, club officials said they were particularly challenged satisfying all their inbound ticket requests playing in MLB's fourth-smallest ballpark. Those demands have only intensified this year. Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy said, "It's way harder this time around. We know more people now. Our circle has expanded since then. So the demand for tickets has magnified. And around here, we always try to say 'yes' as much we can, and that's tougher to do in this type of situation." Meanwhile, official league partner StubHub said Saturday's Game 3 in St. Louis has now become its highest-selling overall event on the site this year, regardless of genre. Games 1 and 2 tonight and tomorrow are StubHub's largest-selling Red Sox games ever. On the other end of the pricing scale, StubHub earlier this week transacted a $6 ticket sale for Game 1 tonight. The ticket later proved to be fraudulent and the sale was canceled. But StubHub ultimately gave the buyer, Erik Jabs of Pittsburgh, a comparable ticket at its own expense (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
SOX HAVE A BALL: The Red Sox last night hosted a World Series gala for more than 2,000 guests at Fenway Park. The club considered several other potential venues in Boston for the event, but several Red Sox execs including Kennedy lobbied strongly to stage it at the ballpark as a means to show off the now-completed, decade-long ballpark renovations costing more than $280M. Kennedy said, "The theme of the evening is really Open House. We're allowing people to go pretty much everywhere with the exception of the clubhouses. There are so many people in town for this that haven't seen the full extent of all the work we have done here, so our goal is to show it all off" (Fisher).
WORLD SERIES SECURITY: In Boston, Maria Cramer reports the World Series "has prompted a modified security plan by law enforcement officials still rattled by the Boston Marathon bombings in April." Officials said that Boston police will have about 500 officers around the park today, "far fewer than the thousands who will be out in force to control crowds in the event of a Series-deciding home game." Boston Police Department documents show that, in a departure from previous events, 14 officers who "specialize in finding and dismantling bombs and a supervisor have been assigned to conduct protective sweeps at the park and the areas around it for the first two games." That is "nearly twice as many than were assigned to sweep the Duck Boats at the Bruins celebration parade" in '11 and "several more than were assigned to the Boston Marathon in April." Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Daniel Linskey expects that fans will "alert police about any suspicious activity, and he called on fans to not wear backpacks around Fenway Park." Much of the rest of the security plan "rings familiar" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/23). ABC's Gio Benitez notes security "will be tight ... with an enhanced police presence, hundreds of officers patrolling the street, more surveillance and police discouraging fans from bringing backpacks" ("GMA," ABC, 10/23). Meanwhile, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson on Monday said there is no indication that the Boston Marathon bombing "has any impact on the World Series." But he added the bombing of a high-profile sporting event has prompted law enforcement agencies to "step up our game a little bit." Dotson said that when the series shifts to Busch Stadium on Saturday, fans "going to games should give themselves more time to make it through the gates." Bags "will be subject to search, and some fans entering Busch Stadium will be subject to random wanding with metal detectors." There also "may be specific gates outfitted with walk-through metal detectors." Dotson "wouldn't say how many extra patrols will be deployed to the event" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/22).
Officials from the Big 12 and the Cowboys "expect a record crowd of more than 80,000 people" for the '14 Final Four at AT&T Stadium, according to Dave Skretta of the AP. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Cowboys Exec VP/Brand Management Charlotte Jones Anderson yesterday said that they "anticipate breaking the mark for a national semifinal" of 75,421 set during the '11 Final Four at Reliant Stadium. Anderson: "We have the capacity to host over 80,000, and that's been distributed through the NCAA channels. We hope that we can open that capacity beyond that for standing room. That is ... under consideration by the NCAA at this point." Bowlsby said, "We're going to have events all over the Metroplex. There are a lot of fun things that are going to go on during the course of the weekend." Skretta noted the record for a championship game is 74,326, "set during Louisville's 82-76 victory over Michigan" during the '13 Final Four at the Georgia Dome. The Dallas area has not hosted a Final Four since the '86 event was held at Reunion Arena, but AT&T Stadium "has played host to several basketball games" since it opened in '09 (AP, 10/22).
Six months out from the '14 Boston Marathon, race organizers are balancing plans to remember last year’s tragedy with a focus on looking ahead. Boston Athletic Association Exec Dir Tom Grilk said, “The idea, in broad concept, will be to begin the week with tribute and to conclude it with the 2014 Boston Marathon, which will be much more about moving forward." Grilk last week outlined the organization’s focus on security, an increased field of runners and its hope to add new sponsors to the 118-year-old race. Perhaps the biggest challenge is the addition of 9,000 runners, which will bring the full field to a total of 36,000. That will be the second highest in the event's history after 38,000 competed in the centennial celebration in '96. The additional runners come after 5,000 of the approximately 5,600 runners that were unable to complete the '13 event will return for ‘14. The organization also will offer 4,000 spots to runners who have met the qualifying standards, as well as those most affected by what happened last April. Grilk did not specify any major changes needed to accommodate the increased numbers, and said that event registration is going smoothly. He also expressed confidence that the BAA’s organizational setup will be able to handle the larger field on race day in April.
SECURITY CONCERNS: Security remains top of mind for the BAA, which has been working with city, state and federal public-safety agencies to ensure safety guidelines are in place in the eight cities involved in the race, as well as for participants and spectators. Grilk would not specify any major changes to the BAA’s security approach, but did say it has not brought on any outside security consultant firms. Grilk: “There’s not a change in who is involved. It is simply a changed world for the people who do that work.” He said the meetings with the involved communities and agencies began earlier -- and have been more frequent -- this year. Grilk said currently no town has asked for additional funds to enhance security, but added, “Our willingness to spend money on security is wide open. … We look at this just the way all of our public safety partners look at it: We’ll do what’s needed.” Grilk said the BAA last year provided around $800,000 in fees to the cities, who can use the funds as they wish around the event.
ONE-YEAR-OUT REMEMBRANCES: Grilk said details are still being ironed out for an event to mark the one-year anniversary of last year's bombings. “The likelihood is a fairly large public event in the Back Bay in Boston with political officials and public safety and government first responders; people who were affected victims and their families," Grilk said. "Perhaps with something that could involve movement from a place perhaps to the finish area in order to have some appropriate ceremony. Precisely what it’ll be, we are discussing.” He did not have any target for when he hopes plans will be finalized.
NEW LOGO FOR JOHN HANCOCK: Primary sponsor John Hancock, which marks 29 years with the Boston Marathon, will honor the ‘13 tragedy by introducing a new mark on its signage for the race featuring a heart with the word Boston and a road running through it. This mark will be featured on the street banner program that displays signage on light poles along the course. John Hancock Associate VP/Sponsorship & Event Marketing Rob Friedman said the internally-created mark signifies “the road forward” and will be “ubiquitous” for all elements of the company’s marathon marketing. John Hancock also runs the Boston Marathon’s Elite Athlete Team, recruiting top talent to enter the field. Friedman said not only has last year’s tragedy not deterred runners, but it has had the opposite effect: high demand for a limited number of spaces. Friedman noted John Hancock is committed to its principle sponsorship of the race through '23, but added, “As long as there is a John Hancock, and as long as there is a Boston Marathon, we’ll be partners together.”