BOSTON (CBS) — For the first time all season, Red Sox fans were given a reason to celebrate on Tuesday. The team is ditching those dreadful 7:30 start times for next season.
For whatever reason, the Red Sox thought that pushing back the start time of their home games to 7:30 for the abbreviated 2020 season would be welcomed by fans. It was not, and many complained that Red Sox games ended way too late, with a handful lasting well into the 11 o’clock hour.
“I can tell you that we will not have 7:30 start times,” Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy told reporters over a Zoom press conference on Tuesday. “They will be earlier than that. Whether it’s 7:05 or 7:10, we will have an announcement on that.”
That’s one way to win back a few fans after a dismal 2020 performance by the team. Kennedy is also holding out hope that fans will be able to attend games in 2021, though that will depend on how the country is doing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kennedy said that the team was prepared to host 7,000 fans for September games had the ban on large gatherings in Boston been lifted, but that was not the case. They’ll now keep a close eye on how the New England Patriots host fans if they are allowed to do so during the 2020 NFL season.
“Because we don’t know what next year is going to look like with public gatherings and crowds, we’ll be prepared for all scenarios,” said Kennedy.
Of course, the million dollar question for fans hoping to get back to Fenway Park next year is whether or not the team will raise ticket prices, as they tend to do from year to year. Kennedy said that no decision has been made on that front, but one should be made in the coming weeks.
Kennedy acknowledged that fan interest was way down during the 60-game season. Trading Mookie Betts before spring training and having a paper mache rotation certainly didn’t inspire much excitement for the team, and competing with the postseason runs of the Celtics and Bruins in the battle of viewership didn’t help either.
But the Red Sox brass are promising a much more competitive team in 2021, which should help the franchise’s relevancy in the Boston sports scene.
“Relevancy speaks to competitiveness, and we need to be competitive year in and year out,” said Kennedy, who added that Boston’s fluctuating level of competitiveness over the past few years keeps him up at night. “We’re here to win championships. We will do everything we can this offseason, next year, into 2022 and beyond to bring another World Series championship to Red Sox fans. That’s what they deserve and we’ll do anything we can to make that happen.”