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Soccer at Fenway?

Posted by Amalie Benjamin  October 20, 2009 06:28 PM

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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Though it might be just in the idea stage for now, the idea seems to be particularly captivating for Sam Kennedy. With the Fenway Sports Group having signed an agreement this week to help English Premier League club Fulham find a name team sponsor, the Red Sox' chief operating officer has begun to dream of a regular season EPL game taking place at Fenway Park.

"It's absolutely an idea at this stage," Kennedy said by phone. "It might not even be a good idea. Our mission is to explore all sorts of what we call blue chip events in Fenway Park. It started back in 2003 with the Bruce Springsteen concert. We're having outdoor hockey games with the NHL and Hockey East. The concept of an English Premier League game at Fenway is very, very exciting, and fits in line with our standard of events.

"I don't know that they would be interested in doing it. We need to do some more homework and see if it would work."

The concept has been mentioned to Fulham, but has not yet been discussed with the EPL. Kennedy foresees a potential regular season game happening in 2012, as part of the 100-year anniversary of Fenway Park, in addition to any hockey games or concerts that might also be planned for the park that year. He called it "a long shot, given that it's just an idea at this point. It's something that we'd like to seriously explore."

The EPL has played matches in the United States, including at Gillette Stadium, but they have been exhibition matches. It's unknown at this point whether the League would be interested in having a regular-season game in the U.S. Both Major League Baseball and the NFL have played games in other countries in recent years, including the Red Sox in Tokyo to start 2008 and the Patriots in London this month.

Unlike a concert, any game would likely have to be played after the end of the regular season and postseason, given the impact on the field. Because there would be usage of the grass on the Fenway Park field, Kennedy said they would target the game for November or December, though there could be snow issues in December.

"I don't think Theo [Epstein] and the crew would be pumped with me," Kennedy said, about having a game on the field during the season. "They'd give me grief over that one."

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