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Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy on Salk & Holley: Discounts could extend past April

03.29.13 at 7:02 pm ET
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Red Sox chief operating officer Sam Kennedy, in an interview on the Salk & Holley Show, said that the team was open to extending the recently announced April discounts on concessions beyond the first month of the season.

“[The discounts] could [extend beyond April], and I think that’s something we would certainly consider,” said Kennedy. “It is a small gesture. We owe our fans a lot more than that. What we owe them is continued commitment to player payroll — we need to be at the very top of baseball. By no means would I ever suggest that a small thank you by discounting concessions through the month of April is a proper thank you for a decade of fan support. Loyalty is a two-way street. We recognize that, we understand that and we’re committed to bringing the team back to where it belongs.

“If fans really respond well to it and appreciate it, it’s something that we can take into consideration. It may be a great thing. We pride ourselves on listening to the fans and taking their feedback,” he added.

Kennedy also said that he did not foresee a dramatic overhaul of the Fenway fan experience in which giveaways will become a standard draw.

“In Boston, you need to provide winning baseball, competitive baseball, commitment to player payroll and and a great fan experience.
We don’t need the sort of gimmicky promotions or giveaway items or things you need to do in other markets that you need to do to get fans to come to ballgames,” said Kennedy. “It’s a different approach to the business side of baseball in Boston. … It’s all about the baseball here.”

Towards that end, Kennedy suggested that the Red Sox’ rebuilding of their brand requires the team to win again. That will matter more than the duration of concession discounts in determining whether Fenway Park patrons have a positive experience at Red Sox games.

“Nothing will make things feel right in Red Sox Nation other than getting off to a quick start. … There’s no marketing our club can do like winning baseball games,” said Kennedy. “There has been a lot of residual anger. … We recognize that. We get that. We need to do everything we can to improve our reputation. Our reputation has taken a hit. To be clear, we recognize that and we need to be judged now by how we respond to that.”

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