The Boston Red Sox today welcomed Mayor Thomas M. Menino and city officials to Fenway Park to showcase the "Year VII improvements," which will enhance the fans’ 2008 experience at the ballpark by providing more seats, improved circulation, more space, and more information. "America’s Most Beloved Ballpark", which celebrates its 96th anniversary this year, will host the World Champion Boston Red Sox’ 108th home opener on Tuesday, April 8, at 2:05 p.m., versus the Detroit Tigers.The Boston Red Sox today welcomed Mayor Thomas M. Menino and city officials to Fenway Park to showcase the "Year VII improvements," which will enhance the fans’ 2008 experience at the ballpark by providing more seats, improved circulation, more space, and more information. "America’s Most Beloved Ballpark", which celebrates its 96th anniversary this year, will host the World Champion Boston Red Sox’ 108th home opener on Tuesday, April 8, at 2:05 p.m., versus the Detroit Tigers.
"Every day Fenway Park creates opportunities for the Red Sox to build relationships with our fans," said Principal Owner John Henry. "We know that first impressions are lasting impressions. Whether it is a child’s first game, an international traveler’s introduction to baseball, or another day at the ballpark for a veteran fan, each visitor is special and we are committed to doing everything possible to ensure a superior experience."
The 2008 highlights include new seats and dedicated standing room areas, stairways, elevator, restrooms, color auxiliary scoreboards, and more ADA seating.
"This ballpark is a touchstone for countless members of Red Sox Nation and baseball fans around the world," said Chairman Tom Werner. "It is incumbent upon us to ensure we invest in its enhancement in a way that creates opportunities for the largest number of unique fans to visit while still preserving the scale and character that has made Fenway Park ‘America’s Most Beloved Ballpark’."
ADDITIONAL SEATING: Fenway Park will open this season with approximately 875 new seats, plus additional 100 well-located standing room tickets. The State Street Pavilion has been extended on both the left and right field sides serving as home to new club and box seats as well as new standing room spots with drinkrails. Eight new private suites, the new "State Street Pavilion Suites," replaced the six suites (‘K’ and ‘B’) housed in temporary boxes originally placed on the Pavilion for the 1999 All-Star Game.
Twelve private suites on the EMC Level have also been renovated, adding to the 26 renovated in 2007.
In February, the team unveiled the Coca-Cola Corner on the left field corner of the State Street Pavilion level. It is home to 412 new "Pavilion Reserved" seats and a dedicated "choir riser" type of standing-room section, the first ever at Fenway, which will provide one of the best and most unique views in the park. The Coca-Cola Corner is crowned with a new illuminated sign featuring the beverage company’s signature red and white logo. The sign design harkens back to a historic Coca-Cola sign that stood on Storrow Drive for more than four decades, and will provide the company with a new and even more meaningful historic Fenway presence. The Coca-Cola Corner seating area will provide new opportunities for group ticket sales, and will feature Coca-Cola and Red Sox-themed décor and a wide variety of food and beverage options, including select Coca-Cola products.
A significant number of tickets for the State Street Pavilion Suites and Pavilion Reserved seats in the Coca-Cola Corner will be sold on a single game basis, reflecting the team’s commitment to enable as many different fans as possible to come to the ballpark each season.
"We are ever-vigilant in seeking ways to give our fans the best experience possible at Fenway Park," said Larry Lucchino, President/CEO. "And we believe that our ambitious ‘Year VII Improvements’ will not only bring more opportunity for more fans to visit the ballpark, but continue to advance our commitment to provide league-leading levels of fan service."
INFRASTRUCTURE AND CIRCULATION IMPROVEMENTS: A commitment to improve fan movement throughout the ballpark brought about major improvements in vertical circulation, including a new staircase from the Gate A entry area on Yawkey Way to the back of the Grandstand at Section 27 to the EMC Level and State Street Pavilion. There are new staircases in left field and an escalator has been repaired. A new elevator has also been installed between Gates A and E, which will stop on all levels and vastly improve the circulation in left field.
The club has focused on improving restroom access, adding two new Family Restrooms on the State Street Pavilion, new permanent men’s and women’s restrooms for Green Monster patrons, and new restrooms adjacent to the Red Sox Interview Room. The men’s restroom behind Grandstand 27 has also been renovated to provide for wheelchair accessibility.
The bleacher seating bowl has undergone complete concrete repair and waterproofing. The section’s old seats were sold to season ticket holders at the end of 2007, and replaced with new self-rising seats which will ease movement in and out of rows.
The seating replacement gave the club the opportunity to add 15 new wheelchair locations compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and 15 new companion seats in the front row of the bleachers. The club also added 8 new ADA compliant wheelchair positions and 8 new companion seats in the left field grandstand near the new elevator.
Structural upgrades and stabilization were completed in all seating areas, and service level improvements include new sprinkler systems in the concourses.
As a part of the club’s commitment to bring the Red Sox clubhouse up to par with those of other Major League teams, the Red Sox installed a kitchen, offices, and new restrooms on the clubhouse Mezzanine Level.
INFORMATION AND AUXILIARY SCOREBOARDS: Four linear scoreboards, two in left field and two in right, now line portions of the EMC Level fascia. The "LED" technology gives full color, clear information regarding the batter, the pitcher, the count, and other key game statistics. This improvement will provide useful information to fans in centerfield and left field who have compromised views of the scoreboards.
MORE CONCESSIONS AND GATHERING SPACES: A new left field deck behind the Coca-Cola Corner will be available for fans to gather and relax with family and friends in a picnic style setting. 32 picnic tables with 16 umbrellas will be available for fans to sit and enjoy the ballpark atmosphere from a unique perspective.
Additional concession stands were added to the State Street Pavilion to provide fans on the State Street Pavilion and Green Monster with more options and improved availability.
The club has made annual improvements since Henry, Werner, Lucchino and their partners purchased the club before the start of the 2002 season. On March 25, 2005, the ownership group announced a long-term commitment to the park, ending years of uncertainty. Since making their commitment, they have worked to preserve and protect "America’s Most Beloved Ballpark".
"We are grateful to the City of Boston, our neighbors, and partners for their diligent efforts to ensure the ballpark can be modified to meet today’s standards and that our work can be accomplished in an ambitious timeframe," said Janet Marie Smith, Senior Vice President/Planning and Development. "We are committed to not only making Fenway Park more convenient and comfortable for our fans, but ensuring that the safety of our park is in line with current codes."
Changes were made in accordance with the standards set by the National Park Service and are reviewed in advance by the Massachusetts Historic Commission, the Boston City Landmarks Commission, and Boston Redevelopment Authority.
The improvements for 2008 were designed by D’Agostino Izzo & Quirk of Somerville. McNamara Salvia is the structural engineer, and SEI is serving as the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineer with both firms based in Boston. The code and life safety consultant is Howe Engineers of Sandwich, MA. Construction is being done by William A. Berry & Son, Inc. of Danvers, MA. The Boston office of Struever Brothers Eccles & Rouse is acting as the Red Sox program manager.
Bleacher waterproofing was done by NER Construction of Wilmington, MA. New seating was installed by American Seating of Grand Rapids, MI. The Coca-Cola sign and all environmental graphics at Fenway Park were designed by Ashton Design in Baltimore, Maryland.