Kennedy 'hopeful' Fenway hosts fans later in '20

June 25th, 2020

BOSTON -- Red Sox president/CEO Sam Kennedy created some excitement for Boston’s rabid fanbase on Wednesday night when he left open the possibility that spectators will be able to inhabit Fenway Park at some point during the 2020 season.

“I would say it’s a possibility,” Kennedy said. “If it were to become a reality, it would be because of the great work that the state of Massachusetts and the city of Boston have done. [Governor] Charlie Baker and [Lieutenant Governor] Karyn Polito and [Mayor] Marty Walsh and [Mayor’s Chief of Staff] Kathryn Burton and all of their teams.

“They’ve been under fire and under the gun day in and day out for four months. But if you look at the data and the numbers, it would suggest all of their work and the great work of people who live around Boston and New England is starting to pay off as the data is improving in our region.”

The buzz that the crowds at Fenway Park create is unique, and Kennedy looks forward to being able to feel it again as soon as it is safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

MLB’s 60-game regular season is scheduled to start July 23 or 24.

“If we do have any possibility of having fans in the stands at some point, it would be because of that great work of our elected officials and all of the citizens who have respected the medical experts,” Kennedy said. “So, we are hopeful to have fans at some point. We need fans at Fenway Park. Our fans give us a competitive advantage. I can tell you there are clubs around Major League Baseball that are anticipating having fans in their ballparks.

“It’s an incredibly important part of our business and of our baseball operations, so we’d like to get to that point. But I can’t tell you when that would happen. But we are working through the protocols that would be required to pursue the opportunity some day in the future.”

However, Kennedy cautioned that he wasn’t making any type of promise.

“I want to make sure I’m clear: I hope that we can have fans back in the stands because of the competitive advantage that it gives you to have fans, but I don’t know that we will,” Kennedy said. “It’s probably a little bit me, personally, just projecting my own hope that fans will be back at Fenway Park.

“I just anticipate it being extremely odd when we get going playing Major League Baseball games in front of no fans, it being a strange environment. It is, I think, important that if we do it, and can do it, we do it in a safe and responsible way following CDC guidelines for social distancing, cleanliness, face coverings and the like.

“We’ll see how it goes. I think it’s incredibly important that we start, when it’s safe, to start to try and get back to some sense of normalcy. I know for me, that has always been going to baseball games, and I think our fans want that and ultimately I think our players want that. We all want to start to try and get back to some sense of normalcy when it’s safe and appropriate. Just to be clear, I don’t have a timetable on that, but I personally hope it’s as soon as humanly possible.”