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Volume 21 No. 2
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Loyalty counts at Fenway's new Royal Rooters Club

The Boston Red Sox are building a new club at Fenway Park tied to the stadium’s 100th anniversary, and long-standing season-ticket holders are getting the first chance to join.

The Royal Rooters Club and The Nation’s Archives, named in part for an early 20th-century Red Sox fan club, replaces the old Players Club restaurant in a 6,000-square-foot space on the ballpark’s second level behind the right-field seats. It will be ready for Opening Day, April 13, against Tampa Bay.

Memberships cost $250 a ticket annually for the club, which can accommodate 350 people, said Sam Kennedy, the Red Sox’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. Total membership will be in the range of 1,000, Kennedy said.
The Red Sox began marketing the club late last week by sending email notices to their 1,000 longest-tenured season-ticket holders. The team will continue to go down the list of season-ticket holders with the most longevity until the club is sold out, and then start a waiting list.

The Red Sox have more than 20,000 season-ticket holders, and many have informed the team over the past few years of their desire for another dedicated hospitality space, said Larry Lucchino, the team’s president and CEO.

Fenway Park has the EMC Club and the State Street Pavilion Club behind home plate overlooking the playing field. Both clubs opened for the 2006 season, and memberships are connected to long-term contracts for club seats. Members to the new club may come from any part of the park; it’s their loyalty as season-ticket holders that will help get them in the door.

The Royal Rooters Club is an indoor space without views to the field, but it will have televisions to provide a connection to the game, Kennedy said.

The club will display memorabilia such as the ball Roger Clemens pitched for a record 20th strikeout in a game in 1986.
The new club will serve food and drink, but the unique aspect is the high-end memorabilia on display from the Red Sox archives. Many pieces have been kept under lock and key, and until now have not been made available for the public to view, Kennedy said.

Among the rare items to be showcased: Dave Roberts’ “Stolen Base from Heaven” that helped the Red Sox overcome the Yankees in the 2004 American League playoffs on the way to a World Series title; the baseball Roger Clemens threw for his 20th strikeout when he became the first major league pitcher to record 20 K’s in a nine-inning game in 1986; and an old Ted Williams injury X-ray.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., and other collectors will also lend items to the Royal Rooters Club. Besides adding another amenity for season-ticket holders, the club will serve as Fenway Park’s version of a baseball museum, Kennedy said. “Non-game-day, it will be accessible to the public and it will also be part of our ballpark tour program,” he said.

The Red Sox are working on a deal for a sponsor to have a branded area within the Royal Rooters Club, but the agreement has not been signed, Kennedy said.

The team will not sell naming rights to the club. “We want to keep it pure,” he said.

Fenway Park concessionaire Aramark will manage the club. The menu is still being determined. The team’s investment was in the low to mid-six figures, he said. Officials expect to recoup those costs over the next two to three years.