May 4, 2012
Do the Red Sox really sell out?
This shouldn't suprise anyone. Sorry to bust your bubble but teams lie about their attendance numbers. If they can create a sense of demand then they can sell tickets for a lot more money and get people to buy season tickets. For Boston's record sellout streak at Fenway, if they can make it seem like the place is always sold out than they won't have to rely on walkup numbers (which are always finicky).
By saying that they're always sold out, people think they either have to buy tickets in advance or buy season tickets. That means more than likely they'll go to the game and they're willing to pay more. If they think they can just walk up and get tickets than things like weather and not being able to buy a babysitter get in the way of attending the game. So it shouldn't suprise anyone that the Red Sox sometimes give away tickets to continue the sellout streak.
The Sox count the total number of tickets they distribute, including an average of 800 complimentary tickets each game to charities and others, as the basis for a sellout. They also count standing room tickets toward the total.
Skeptics might call it a “distribution streak’’ rather than a sellout streak, given the team’s reliance on complimentary tickets.
By giving away hundreds of tickets to Wednesday’s game and selling hundreds of other standing room tickets, the Sox kept their streak alive despite reporting a paid attendance of 37,434 - 61 seats shy of capacity. They did so by including the tickets distributed, which pushed the total to 37,819, exceeding the seating capacity by 324.
In fact, the paid attendance fell short of Fenway’s seating capacity in all three games this week against the A’s, according to official box scores. Yet thanks to the distribution formula, the streak that began May 15, 2003 endures.
Kennedy said the Sox do not give away tickets to keep the streak alive. He said the team generally gives away far fewer tickets than other major league team because of Fenway’s small size and the high demand for tickets.
He said the average paid attendance last year was 37,714, which exceeds the seating capacity, and includes standing room.
By the way 800 tickets isn't that much of a margin. I'd imagine other MLB teams give away a lot more and still don't have a full stadium. Don't go to Fenway thinking you can get right in.