Boston Red Sox CEO and president Larry Lucchino defended the Red Sox sellout streak. The Boston sellout mark stands at over 850 games. Lucchino noted that the controversy over the streak, which started in May 2003 and is the longest in MLB history, is a matter of definition.
Lucchino appeared on WEEI Radio’s Dennis and Callahan show Thursday morning and spent a long time discussing what is a much-lauded record. Many, including the Boston Globe, have said that the streak is bogus.
Lucchino explained that the Globe is defining sellout in a very different way, saying, “We’re battling definitions. Their definition is a literal one, and that every possible seat must be sold.” Then he noted, “And the operating definition that was here for years and years and was here long before we got here, and it’s in place for most Major League baseball teams, although there are some variations, but most baseball teams define a sellout as when you have more people in the ballpark, because you’ve sold more tickets and distributed more tickets than there are seats.”
I guess that makes sense. The problem is the word “sellout” indicates that every seat has been “sold,” and with the Red Sox that is not true. Many seats are given away each and every game. Plus, some seats…real seats it turns out…are not necessarily sold in these “sellouts” even though they are made available to the public. He said that a lot of people take pride in the record and that includes the Red Sox fans.
Lucchino claimed, “You can quibble that there are some seats behind the post that didn’t get sold. Yeah, well there are several people in standing room instead. “ The CEO also offered some figures, noting, ”We’ve averaged 37,600 people, somewhere around there. That’s an average for every game this year. You can quibble about definitions, ‘Is this a sellout? Is that a sellout?’ But that’s an extraordinarily consistent record.”
It is an amazing mark. But the question seems to be is it really a sellout “record” or have the Red Sox used some steroid induced numbers to create the illusion of a record? I guess you know things are bad for an organization when they have to defend just about every aspect of the franchise including a supposed sellout streak.
Some good news for fans was also heard on the radio show, as Lucchino said ticket prices for next season should remain stable.
He said, “My sense is that there’s not a lot of compelling reasons to increase ticket prices. I think you’ll see some changes in terms of an approach to ticket selling for next year.”
The Red Sox have one of the highest ticket prices in MLB, but it’s doubtful after a 2011 season where they tanked in the playoffs and this season where they simply tanked, that fans would stand for an increase in prices. The fact is the Red Sox must put a real winner on the field before they can ever think of raising prices.