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September 11, 2013

Sox CEO Kennedy talks business to Chamber

ESSEX — Red Sox chief operating officer Sam Kennedy was well into the question-and-answer portion of his talk Tuesday morning to the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, when Jason Lattof raised his hand with a question.

Lattof, one of seven Gloucester High School students who attended the breakfast talk at Woodman’s Essex Room, wanted to know which part of venerable Fenway Park the Red Sox planned to renovate next.

Kennedy ran down some of the list of Fenway’s $285 million in improvements since the John Henry-Tom Werner-Larry Lucchino ownership group took control of the franchise in 2002: The Monster seats; new video boards and scoreboards; turning Yawkey Way into a pedestrian mall before games; the right field concourse and roof bar, and so on.

“We’re pretty much done with the major projects now,” Kennedy said to Lattof, who was sitting at a table with teacher Ann Grassetti and six other students from her sports and entertainment marketing class at Gloucester High School.

Kennedy then decided to take advantage of the students’ presence to do a little research of his own.

“I’ve got my own focus group here,” he said.

Now becoming the questioner, Kennedy said the Red Sox, like every other major league franchise, is finding it more and more difficult to market the game to younger fans — specifically those in the 12- to 19-year-old range.

“We have our own theories on that,” Kennedy said. “Why do you think that is? And what can we do?”

Lattof didn’t hesitate. He said the cost of going into the games is almost too high for the average teenager, which led Kennedy to ruminate on the possibility someday of a specially-priced teen ticket at Fenway Park.

That was just one of the enjoyable moments from Kennedy’s presentation on the business of baseball and, more specifically, the business of the Red Sox since 2002. The most enjoyable? Probably the Red Sox merchandise Kennedy handed out to each questioner (his GHS focus group hit the mother lode).

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