BOSTON, MA - The Red Sox organization today announced a new agreement with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) in which the club will pay $7.34 million, and transfer rights to an important parcel of development land to the City of Boston and BRA for continuing rights to use Yawkey Way on city-licensed event days at Fenway Park, and to use the air above Lansdowne Street for a portion of the seats atop the Green Monster.
The current agreement with the BRA, established in 2003, was set to expire October 31, 2013. The new agreement will take effect immediately upon its expiration, after it is presented for approval by the BRA Board at their September 26 meeting.
In addition to the $7.34 million, surface rights to a key parcel of land owned by a Red Sox affiliate located between Boylston Street and Van Ness Street, appraised at $2.66 million, will also be acquired by the BRA from the Red Sox at that appraised price, without challenge or litigation.
The BRA plans to use the Red Sox affiliate's land to create a new, public street running parallel to Yawkey Way as part of a Fenway neighborhood master development plan. Ultimately, this new street improvement would create a direct route from Boylston Street to Beacon Street through the Fenway neighborhood, about 40 yards west of Yawkey Way, enhancing opportunities for residential and retail development.
"This agreement is an example of a mutually beneficial public-private partnership," said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. "The Red Sox and our fans will have the advantage of continuing to use space essential to Fenway Park's safe, comfortable, expanded, and more efficient operation, and the city will receive a larger payment, as well as the opportunity to create a new, public street that will serve as a catalyst for the Fenway neighborhood's future development and effectively reduce reliance on Yawkey Way as one of the north to south streets through our area."
Even before the Red Sox license agreement in 2003, the practice of closing down a portion of Yawkey Way had been common practice for public safety reasons.
"The gates located on Yawkey Way are the two most highly trafficked by fans coming in and out of the ballpark," said Red Sox Director of Security Charles Cellucci. "Its closure during games and events at Fenway Park serves not only as a festive, expanded concourse area, it also plays a critical public safety function for the orderly entrance and exit of our fans during games. It is also a key evacuation route in case of a fire or other emergency."
Under the 2003 lease agreement, the Red Sox have paid an annual fee to the city, averaging approximately $183,000 per year. In 2013, the Red Sox' license payment is $201,662. The unique licensing agreement allowed the Red Sox to use a portion of Yawkey Way as an expanded concourse and pre-game fan area during baseball games, and to construct a portion of the Green Monster Seats above Lansdowne Street. Both were key factors in the decision to preserve Fenway Park as the long-term home for the club; that decision was made by the Red Sox in 2005 after these improvements proved to be successful and well-received.
In addition to the annual payments made to the city under the 2003 license agreement, the Red Sox have paid more than $28 million in taxes to the City of Boston since 2002, (and an additional $36 million to the state). Unlike most property owners, the Red Sox pay property taxes based on the club's revenue/income at the ballpark. The ability to develop new revenue streams each year with innovations such as the installation of the Green Monster seats, and new events such as concerts and hockey, has brought about substantial increases in taxes of almost three-fold to the city in recent years compared to the previous decade.
The Red Sox also help generate billions in visitor spending from games, concerts, and other events at Fenway Park. According to the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Red Sox and Fenway Park generate over $150 million in visitor spending for the city and region in a typical year, and have generated nearly $2 billion in visitor spending over the past 12 years.
"Fenway Park is a top tourist destination in New England, and the Red Sox are an incredible economic engine driving new spending in business for the visitor industry," said Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau President & CEO Pat Moscaritolo. "The direct spending from fans in our area restaurants, hotels, and retail shops alone is significant, but we also get a huge boost from the indirect spending on jobs and services needed to support games, concerts, and other events at the ballpark and in the Fenway area."
Since 2002, the Red Sox have hosted 81 home games for each of the past 11 regular seasons (78 home games played so far this year), 26 postseason games, 28 concerts, the NHL Winter Classic, Frozen Fenway, two soccer friendlies, and a range of other public events.