April 5, 2013

Red Sox sellout run will likely end after 10 years

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Fans shoot photos from the Green Monster seats during a tour of Fenway Park in Boston Friday, April 5, 2013. The Boston Red Sox baseball home opener is scheduled for Monday against the Baltimore Orioles. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

And ticket prices were frozen for the third time in five years.

Red Sox chief operating officer Sam Kennedy said 87 percent of season ticket-holders renewed this offseason, down from 95 percent the year before. Although the team has sold 2.2 million tickets before opening day, the plummeting prices on the resale market may have scared off season ticket-holders who needed to unload games they couldn't use.

The sellout streak of 793 regular-season games — 819, including playoffs — shattered the record of 455 set by the Cleveland Indians when they opened Jacobs Field and also surpassed the all-sports record set by the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers from 1977-95.

But there has been some doubt about the integrity of the sellouts, with The Boston Globe last year sending reporters to ticket windows into the seventh inning to buy seats for supposedly sold-out games. (The team says it uses the definition of a sellout that is common in the industry, one that includes give-aways and standing room sales that bring the attendance above the seating capacity.)

The end of the streak will be a good thing for many fans, especially those who had been unable to land tickets in the past. Some games have as many as 5,000 seats still available; Lucchino said groups of up to 200 can still buy tickets to many games.

"Throughout the streak, there was an assumption that you couldn't get tickets," Steinberg said. "We want to make sure that those who want to go to a game know that they can.

"Is there an 8-year-old in Burlington, Vt., who has never been able to come to a game? You have to believe there is," Steinberg said, arguing that the ability to draw in new fans will help the team in the long run. "This place is only nostalgic if it reminds you of your youth."

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