The End Seems Near for a Sellout Streak at Fenway Park

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(from New York Times, April 9, 2013) The Boston Red Sox have sold out 794 straight games at Fenway Park, dating back to the 2003 season, which was the season before they won their first championship in 86 years. Since that time the Red Sox have sold out all of the 37,000 seats they have in Fenway Park, no matter the weather. The Cleveland Indians sold out 455 straight games during the 1990s; the second closest streak is the San Francisco Giants, which sits at 169 games.

The past few seasons have been very hard on Red Sox fans, in 2011 they had a monumental collapse in September, which led to the firing of their manager, and then last season they finished last in the American League East. There have been some improvements to Fenway such as the addition of the Green Monster seats, but they have seen a steady increase in price. April tickets are much harder to sell due to cold weather and kids still being in school, the Red Sox have a record 17 home games this month. Wednesday night could be the end of the streak; the Red Sox play the Baltimore Orioles and are not expected to reach capacity.

Larry Lucchino, the president of the Red Sox, said, “combined with the disappointment of last season and the disaster the year before, we are anticipating the streak coming to an end.” The interest has fallen in the resale market as well, last season the home opener went for twice of what it did this year. Fans can find seats for around $12, which is 75% decrease in prices from the second home game of the season last year.

Capacity can reach up to 39,000 seats, which is the third smallest in the MLB, right in front of Oakland and Tampa Bay, both who have very small attendance numbers. “The preservation of Fenway is a major point of pride for us, just below winning the World Series,” Lucchino said. He also stated that the season ticket renewal rates are also down this season, they around 88% compared to 95% last season. “We hope to really thank them with a decent season,” he said of Red Sox fans, “that would be the best thank you of all.”