Yet, as I've described the Rays' poor marketing of their stadium, Buckley describes how the Red Sox were able to shift opinions and transform Fenway from an eyesore to "America's Most Beloved Ballpark":
(Red Sox owner John) Henry and his associates did a marvelous selling job when they bought the Red Sox. Recognizing that public financing for a new Fenway Park wasn’t going to magically appear, and opting not to invest millions of their own money, they chose to go with a long-term, multi-tiered renovation.I'm not claiming Tropicana Field is the same as Fenway Park...but it's worth pointing out the parallels.
But they didn’t stop there. They came up with the “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark” campaign, affixing those words to the side of Fenway on a banner the size of a big-league infield.
The truth, of course, is there was no such competition. With classic Red Sox arrogance, management simply called the printer, ordered up an “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark” banner, and the rest is marketing history. The Red Sox have sold out every home game since May 15, 2003, thanks not to hardcore baseball fans, but to tourists who giddily plop down their money in order to say they have taken part in the “Fenway experience.”
As recently as 1995, a reserved grandstand ticket to a Red Sox home game was $12, and bleacher tickets sold for $8 a pop. And now? People pay $12 to take a tour of an empty ballpark. P.T. Barnum would have loved it.