The Fenway Franks are still there. Now, they’re joined by a lion on the Green Monster, banana splits, and augmented reality throughout the beloved ballpark.
The Red Sox unveiled a series of additions to Fenway Park ahead of the team’s home opener Tuesday. While the new concession offerings will surely find fans, expect the World Series trophy earned in October to remain the most popular update to the 107-year-old stadium.
Ticket prices at the park will rise by an average of 2.5 percent for the 2019 season. The club introduced a new price tier, Diamond, for the six most in-demand games of the season. Prices for those games, which include the home opener and contests against the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees, are set to rise by an average of approximately 10 percent.
Here’s what else is new at Fenway Park this season.
On the menu
The 2019 season will bring a revamp of concession items at Fenway Park, including two new desserts: a Banana Splitter made with three scoops of ice cream, and a brownie sundae doused in sprinkles. Consider them both either a celebratory snack or a way to eat your feelings if the Sox are falling behind.
Ticket holders in search of something savory will have plenty of options, too. A selection of new sandwiches and burgers made it to the menu this year, including a King’s Hawaiian pulled pork sandwich slathered in barbecue sauce, a crispy chicken tender sandwich, an indulgent lobster BLT, an Italian hoagie with salami, and a veggie burger. Just looking for a quick snack? The straightforward bacon on a stick can be ordered with a brown sugar glaze or a Boston lager glaze, the deep fried Sam’s Slammin’ Onion will arrive with a creamy dipping sauce, and the Buffalo chicken totchos serve as a delicious mess of tater tots, shredded Buffalo chicken, and blue cheese crumbles.
And if you’re in the mood for breakfast while watching the game, a new breakfast burger using waffles for buns or the air-fried French toast sticks should do the trick.
In addition to the ballpark’s refreshed menu lineup, a number of restaurants in the Fenway neighborhood are newcomers to the scene. Stop by for finger sandwiches and croquettes at Tiffany Faison’s adult snack bar, Fool’s Errand, or get buzzed with a glass of natural wine at nathálie, the second project from haley.henry’s Haley Fortier. Vegan ice cream shop FoMu recently opened its fourth location nearby; grab a coconut milk-based scoop before or after the game if the Banana Splitter isn’t your thing.
Around the park
One hard-to-miss physical addition to the park is splashed above the manual scoreboard on the Green Monster in left field: Leo the Lion, the roaring logo for MGM Resorts. The Red Sox struck a multi-year agreement with the company, which opened a casino in Springfield in August.
According to MassLive, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy told reporters the team does “not take lightly putting corporate advertising on the most iconic location in professional sports.”
Kennedy also noted Friday that the club supports Governor Charlie Baker’s proposal to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts.
“This is hallowed ground,” Jim Murren, chief executive officer of MGM Resorts International, told The Boston Globe. “The fact that Fenway Sports is willing to work with us is humbling.”
The Red Sox also have expanded their augmented-reality offerings at various points in the ballpark. Through the MLB Ballpark app, fans can scan objects like the Hall of Fame plaques for an interactive digital experience. The new technology is part of the team’s efforts, which include discounted tickets for students, to attract younger fans to the sport.
Adam Grossman, the club’s chief marketing officer, told Yahoo that “the game is only as strong as the next generation.”
“[E]ven though we’re a 100-year-old brand and have a historic park,” Grossman said, “we need to continue to push the boundaries and continue to evolve and innovate to try and hook kids wherever they are.”
On the field
The changes in the concourses and concession stands are secondary, of course, to the on-field product.
After smashing the franchise’s single-season win record last season, the Red Sox are currently off to a slow start. However, manager Alex Cora said Saturday that there is “no frustration,” while pitcher David Price said that he’s looking forward to the first Fenway series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
“We just need to get back home, and our fans will remind us how good we are,” Price said.
The Red Sox are set to celebrate their World Series title at the park Tuesday alongside the New England Patriots and their newly-acquired Lombardi Trophy. Boston invited closer Craig Kimbrel to the festivities, and the free agent may attend if a team does not sign him in the meantime.
Although Kimbrel is still waiting for a new contract, the Red Sox inked shortstop Xander Bogaerts and ace Chris Sale to extensions. Bogaerts signed a deal that will keep him in Boston through 2025 and guarantee him $132 million. Sale, who would have been a free agent after this season, received an additional $145 million in guaranteed money on a five-year deal.
That leaves two stars, pitcher Rick Porcello and slugger J.D. Martinez, set to hit free agency after this season, with Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. following them after the 2020 campaign if they cannot reach agreements with the team.