Red Sox executive vice president/chief operating officer Sam Kennedy joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday morning to talk about the Red Sox' sellout streak. The Red Sox say they have sold out every game since May 15, 2003, a run of 723 consecutive games. However, a Boston Globe story Friday questioned the validity of the streak, noting that seats are being sold or given away well after games start and a Fenway ticket-seller confirmed after a game this week that tickets remained when the final booth was closed.
"We've been screaming from the mountaintops for the last seven or eight years that we have tickets for sale for every game at Fenway, and they're available on a day-game purchase at Gate E," Kennedy said. "It's kind of ironic, this story this morning is sort of as predictable as the cold and rainy weather in Boston. When the team's not playing so well, I understand that we'll come under attack."
Kennedy explained that the Red Sox look at the total numbers of tickets sold -- including standing-room tickets -- rather than if every single seat is accounted for.
"The simplest explanation for the sellout definition or the sellout streak is, in its most simple, basic form, the concept is that more fans have tickets for the game than there are seats in the ballpark," Kennedy said. "It's always been pegged to seating capacity. … This is a decades-old standard. It goes back to the early 1990s and maybe even before that, certainly long before we were here. It's a common standard that other Major League Baseball teams use, that other sports teams in the Boston market -- the Celtics and the Bruins, for example -- use. It's just one that has been common practice and one that has worked for most teams.
"And I think the confusion lies in the fact that there are tickets available on the day or game for sale. But any time there have been unsold tickets during the streak, the number of standing-room tickets that have been sold always exceeds that number of seats that are still available. So, it is a bit confusing because we don't just pick a set number. We don't say, 'Well, it's 37,000, and anything above that's a sellout.' It's a very meticulous and ironically precise measurement that the Red Sox organization has used for decades. … That's the standard and the measure which the club has used for many years and is commonplace throughout sports."
The team's relationship with ticket resellers has come under question in the past. Kennedy denied that the Sox sell tickets to companies such as Ace Tickets, which buys advertising from the team.
"We do not sell tickets directly to them for resale," Kennedy said. "That's our season ticket-holders and other purchasers that sell tickets and get involved in the secondary market. Our concern is obviously the primary market for tickets. We make no bones about the fact that we want to try to sell as many tickets as humanly possible for every game, because it gives us a great revenue base to work from and it gives us a competitive advantage for the players to play in front of a packed house night in and night out."
Kennedy noted that the fans are the ones who deserve credit for the streak, not the team.
Said Kennedy: "This is the best baseball market in the country, bar none. ... This is the most passionate baseball market in the country, and it's been an amazing 10 years of this ownership's stewardship of the team. And it's kind of humbling for the front office."