Repost: Sports Business Journal
Closing Shot: Monster Of An Idea
Seating above the famed outfield wall at Fenway Park was so popular that the Red Sox took the concept to the minors, where it’s been a big hit as well.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since the debut of Fenway Park’s Green Monster seats, a success story that created some of the most sought-after tickets in sports and spawned a business model for the Boston Red Sox that they have replicated in their minor league system.
The original section — 269 fixed seats and room for 150 more fans to stand — made its debut in the 2003 season and sits 37 feet above the left field wall. The concept was conceived and carried out by architect Janet Marie Smith (who was hired by Red Sox owner John Henry to oversee the re-imagining of Major League Baseball’s oldest ballpark), along with Boston-area DAIQ Architects and Kansas City-based Crawford Architects.
David Murphy, owner and senior principal at Crawford, said Smith challenged the architects to come up with new ideas for all seating options in the park, including the possibility of premium seats on top of the iconic structure.
“When we went to Boston for the presentation, we were bullish on the idea, but there was definitely skepticism about it,” Murphy recalled. “The question that kept getting asked in the room was ‘Will people buy them?’ John Henry came in and we said to him ‘We think you could charge $30 a seat, or $45 or $60.’ He said ‘$60? I think we’ll be charging $300 a seat!’”
The seats debuted at $50 across the board, but 2023 marks the 10th year that they have been dynamically priced and remain among the most popular seats in the park, often going for hundreds of dollar per game.
The success of the new premium experience became a critical part of the club’s future ballpark development template.
Learn more about the Green Monster Seating Expansion Project here.