What's new at Fenway this season: more deliciously gluttonous food offerings, casino ad comes to the Green Monster

Alex Reimer
April 09, 2019 - 10:24 am

While the Red Sox didn’t make any significant additions to their baseball team this offseason, America’s Most Beloved Ballpark ™ once again underwent some noteworthy alterations.

Ever since John Henry and Co. purchased the Red Sox in late 2001, they’ve poured around $300 million into Fenway Park, which will be 107 years old this season. The ballpark’s resuscitation has sparked an economic boom in the once seedy Fenway neighborhood, which is now filled with high-rise condos and all sorts of yuppy hangout spots like organic coffee houses and a fancy hors d’oeuvres bar. 

No new seats were added to Fenway over the winter, but there are additional upscale menu items and technology based activities meant to attract younger fans. There is also a new ad on the Green Monster that would’ve seemed improbable to your grandfather. 

With the Red Sox kicking off their home schedule against the Blue Jays Tuesday, now is the perfect time to run through the three biggest changes to Fenway, which by the way, saw ticket prices increase by an average of 2.5 percent this season. Winning the World Series comes at a cost.

The menu goes well beyond Fenway Franks:

When I was young, my foodie mother would often struggle to find palatable dinner options at the ol’ ballpark. She would usually settle for the individual Domino’s cheese pizza, saying it was both healthier and tastier than the boiled Fenway Frank on a plain white bun. 

But Mama Reimer wouldn’t have those problems today. The Red Sox once again added several new concession items, including decadent treats such as a brownie sundae and banana split. There are also a litany of new burger and sandwich options, such as a lobster BLT, pulled pork sandwich drenched in BBQ sauce, Buffalo chicken tater tot nachos and even bacon on a stick with a brown sugar glaze. 

In recent years, there’s been a big push to diversify ballpark food, with many teams serving downright outrageous items –– such as the Diamondbacks’ 18-inch hot dog piled high with Reuben mac and cheese. That is taking things several steps too far, as few well-adjusted humans could possibly fathom eating something like that. But noshing on a lobster BLT and then finishing things off with a brownie sundae piled with sprinkles? Now we’re talking.

Interact with team history:

The Red Sox Hall of Fame, located inside Fenway, offers fans an unique opportunity to take in the franchise’s storied history during any lulls in the action. This season, the Red Sox are aiming to make the experience more interactive, allowing onlookers to scan Hall of Fame plaques and other objects through the MLB Ballpark app. This initiative, combined with discounted student tickets, is expected to help attract more young people to the park.

Sports gambling comes to Green Monster:

With the shackles taken off legalized sports betting, there’s an influx of gambling ads on sports radio stations, TV networks and pretty much every outlet imaginable. Governor Charlie Baker has also submitted a proposal to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts, meaning the Bay State will likely soon reap the benefits of this newfound revenue generator. 

With that in mind, the Red Sox have plastered Leo the Lion, the logo for MGM Resorts, on the Green Monster. The company opened a casino in Springfield last summer. “We do not take lightly putting corporate advertising on the most iconic location in professional sports,” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy told MassLive. “We’re exciting to work with a company that’s committed to the region.”

Kennedy also says the Red Sox support Baker’s efforts to legalize sports betting in the state. It’s almost like they recognize how much money there is to be made here.