BOSTON, MA - The Boston Red Sox' streak of sold out games at Fenway Park over nearly 10 years is expected to end tonight during the second home game of the 2013 season against the Baltimore Orioles.
The streak, which started May 15, 2003 and continued through April 8, 2013, spanned 794 regular-season games and 820 games at Fenway Park, including postseason games. It is the longest record of its kind in major professional sports for the regular-season, and for the regular season combined with postseason play. The club has averaged 36,605 tickets sold per game during this period. (Fenway Park's seating capacity was only 34,807 in 2003, when the streak began.)
The previous record in Major League Baseball was 455, set by the Cleveland Indians between 1995 and 2001, when they won six consecutive Division Titles and two American League Championships. Red Sox fans surpassed that total on September 8, 2008. The longest professional streak in all major league sports, including postseason play, was formerly held by the Portland Trailblazers at 814 games.
During the Fenway streak, the club reached the postseason six times, made major renovations to preserve, expand, and improve Fenway Park, and overhauled the fan experience.
"The streak is a reflection of a phenomenal period of baseball in Boston and of America's greatest ballpark," said Red Sox Principal Owner John W. Henry. "But more than that, it is a testament to the baseball passion of New England fans. As we close the book on this incredible era, we look forward to another with a renewed certainty that the next couple of generations of Red Sox fans will also be enjoying baseball at the ever magical Fenway Park."
"We have all experienced a wonderful combination of compelling baseball, a revitalized ballpark, and an atmosphere of warmth and hospitality," said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. "I'd like to thank publicly our players, coaches, managers, our architects, our designers and construction workers, and our front office and day of game ballpark staff. Their work, together, connected with Red Sox Nation-passionate fans who helped take this team and this park to these heights. It is these fans to whom we are most grateful."
"We are proud of this historic achievement," said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. "Over the past ten years, more than 30 million, many among the most sophisticated baseball fans in America, have purchased tickets to see games at Fenway Park. Never in that period was there a crowd less than 32,000. No other club in Major League Baseball can make that statement. That speaks volumes about the constancy and dedication of New England baseball fans."
On May 15, 2003, the day the streak began, Pedro Martinez pitched six scoreless innings in a 12-3 victory over the Texas Rangers. The game featured a pair of doubles by Johnny Damon, a pair of triples, by Bill Mueller and Nomar Garciaparra, and three hits by David Ortiz in his first year with the club. After the game, the Red Sox, at 26-14, trailed the first-place New York Yankees (27-13) by one game.
During the nearly 10 seasons of the streak, the Red Sox won two American League pennants and two World Series Championships. They were the American League Wild Card entry five times and won the 2007 American League East Division title.
Also in that span, the club saved and renovated Fenway Park, providing more seats, amenities, and spaces. The ballpark experience was improved with new menu options, reduced concession lines, and new elements reflecting the history of the 100-year-old ballpark. The Red Sox ownership group invested approximately $285 million in the 10 years of major improvements - the largest investment in the ballpark's history.
The club also improved the fan experience to be more hospitable to families and children, and expanded the number of standing room tickets made available to the general public.