The prices of a ballgame at Fenway Park to see the Red Sox are extravagant. The concessions are ordinary at best and very pricey. Parking anywhere around the ball yard can watch a few Jackson’s disappear. Seats that in Kansas City go for $25 can touch three figures at Fenway. That ticket price? Up again.
The money presses continue to roll as the faithful line up to deposit monetary exchange into the coffers of the Henry ownership group. Attendance is in the 95% capacity range and the designation of “official” whatever of the Boston Red Sox continues to be a hot branding item. Association with the Red Sox is translated into business traffic.
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The behind the scenes machinations of the Red Sox are nothing that is new. The business sections of the local papers have stories that show the expanding empire in the Fenway area and questionable connections with the City of Boston.
The latest kerfuffle came to the surface this week with an announcement that the State Inspector General stated that a deal between the Red Sox and the BRA (Boston Redevelopment Authority) lacked “transparency” and was “flawed.”
"“Furthermore, its process for reviewing and approving the transactions was flawed, not supported by evidence and lacked transparency,” Glenn Cunha – Massachusetts Inspector General"
The questionable deal is in perpetuity for use on Yawkey Way on game days for the Red Sox and the air rights for the Green Monster seats. The deal was for 7.34 Million and the Red Sox managed to squeeze out 6.6 million in just one year and that is possibly 6.6 million per year for perpetuity. But there was considerable more jock sniffing by the BRA. One of the more humorous excuses regarding this handout was to “prevent urban blight,” as noted in a Boston Herald editorial. I am sure that all the upscale development in the Fenway area are an example of some third world hell-hole.
The Red Sox sold a parking lot to the BRA for 2.7 Million based on an appraisal figure supplied by none other than the Red Sox own appraiser. The Red Sox have had a long and cozy relationship with City Hall during the administration of the late Mayor Thomas “Mumbles” Menino. To paraphrase a line from a baseball based musical “What the Red Sox want, the Red Sox get.”
Marty Walsh is now firmly entrenched into his office in the architectural disaster known as City Hall. As the saying goes “there is a new sheriff in town.” Walsh, a career politician, has promised that his administration will “do better.” Saying, Mr. Mayor, and doing are two separate issues. If history is our guideline the Red Sox eventually come out with deals that are sweeter than being doused in a vat of premium Swiss chocolate.
This deal may be legal and binding, but the stench exceeds that of the signings of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. If the Red Sox brass were as adept at manipulating other GM’s and free agents as they were with the BRA we would all be watching a World Series at Fenway. In the meantime the privileged get a few more breaks that are eventually subsidized by the residents of Boston.