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Volume 21 No. 43
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Red Sox pleased with first season for their ticket resale platform

The Boston Red Sox finished the 2016 season with more than 85,000 tickets sold on Red Sox Replay, their ticket resale platform that debuted in March. But more important to the club, it deepened its ties with its season-ticket base of roughly 22,000 full-seat equivalents.

The Sox see Replay as playing a part in retaining nearly all of their season-ticket holders.
The Red Sox opted out of MLB Advanced Media’s leaguewide ticket resale partnership with StubHub before the 2016 season, and instead collaborated with the MLBAM-owned to create its own proprietary platform, Red Sox Replay. The outlet sought to reward season-ticket holders by charging sellers a 5 percent commission on sales, half of what other outlets such as StubHub charge. That 5 percent is rebated if season-ticket holders renew for the 2017 season.

Sellers were also given the opportunity to donate tickets on Red Sox Replay to the club’s charitable foundation and claim a tax deduction.

“The raw number of tickets sold on the Replay amounts to a modest percentage of our overall attendance. But we found it was a really important customer service and retention tool,” Red Sox President Sam Kennedy said. “Ticket sales are still a really, really important thing in our sport, and we remain very focused on protecting that season-ticket base in our primary market.”

Further buoyed by an American League East division title this year, the Red Sox plan on retaining virtually all of their season-ticket holders for 2017, and remaining right at their self-imposed cap on season-ticket sales.

Red Sox Replay will be actively marketed next year in multiple forums, including on the club’s website and during game broadcasts on NESN and WEEI-AM. But Kennedy insisted the club was not looking to freeze out other ticket resale options.

“We’re not at war with StubHub, Ace Ticket or anybody else, and fans are still going to use those other platforms,” Kennedy said.

Boston-based Ace Ticket for nearly a decade held an offline marketing-based deal with the Red Sox. Under Red Sox Replay, the company saw its relationship with the club this year shift to one in which it transacted some inventory on the site and advised on the development of the new platform.

“We became a good supplier for their distribution channel, and we have helped with the success of that,” said Jim Holzman, Ace Ticket president and CEO. “I think this speaks to a new kind of model in the industry where you can have interesting collaboration and try to have one plus one equal three.”

The continued development of Red Sox Replay arrives as the club pursues renovations this offseason to Fenway Park. Despite completing a decade and $285 million worth of work on the ballpark in 2012, the club is now installing a new Mitsubishi video board along right field, new field-level seats near the dugouts, a new bar area in the right field grandstand, and a new removable wall in front of the bullpens that will allow for easier conversions of the ballpark for nonbaseball events.