To estimate the revenue generated by the Red Sox’s use of Yawkey Way and Lansdowne Street, the Initiative for Investigative Reporting consulted industry experts, sports and financial publications, and public documents. In cases where research yielded a range of values, the Initiative used conservative figures.
One useful tool was Team Market Report’s Fan Cost Index, which tracks the cost of tickets, concessions, souvenirs and parking at every Major League Baseball stadium. At Fenway Park, the most expensive ballpark in baseball, a typical fan spent $24.62 on concessions and souvenirs in 2011.
Red Sox attendance in 2011 was 3,054,001, according to Baseball-Reference.com, which means concession and souvenir spending at Fenway was about $75.2 million. That money was paid to Fenway Park’s exclusive food and retail vendor, Aramark. The terms of the contract between the Red Sox and Aramark are not public, but a survey of concessionaire deals by AthleticBusiness.com put teams’ shares at 40 to 50 percent of gross revenue.
One contract that is public showed the Arizona Cardinals — an NFL franchise with none of the Red Sox’s pedigree — got 47 to 50 percent of gross concession sales under a 2001 agreement. The Initiative used a 45-percent share for the Red Sox.
A 45 percent take of Fenway’s concession and souvenir revenue amounted to $11.08 per ticketholder for the Red Sox in 2011. Jim Grinstead, who publishes the directory Revenues from Sports Venues, suggested the club’s use of Yawkey Way as an extension of the Fenway Park concourse could bolster concession and souvenir sales by 10 percent. At that rate, Yawkey Way added $3.1 million to what the Red Sox would have made without the street closure in 2011.
The Green Monster section, built over Lansdowne Street, is comprised of 269 seats, which cost $165 apiece, and 100 standing-room spots, which cost $35 apiece. The weighted average price of a Monster ticket in 2011 was $129.77. With an additional $11.08 in concession and souvenir purchases, the average Monster ticketholder was worth $140.85 to the Red Sox in 2011.
Over the course of the season, the section yielded $4.2 million. If the city of Boston were to base its license fee on revenue, it would deduct the Monster section’s amortized construction costs, said Babson real estate expert Michael H. Harrity and Holy Cross sports economist Victor Matheson.
According to estimates the Red Sox provided to the city when they applied for building permits, the Green Monster section cost about $6.5 million. Matheson suggested a 7-percent amortization rate which, he calculated, yields a construction deduction of $862,552 in each of the license agreement’s 11 seasons. The remaining Monster revenue in 2011 was $3.3 million.
With $3.1 million from Yawkey Way and $3.3 million from Lansdowne Street, the Red Sox reaped sales of $6.4 million on two public streets in 2011, according to these estimates. The Initiative performed the same calculations for each of the first nine years of the license agreement to estimate the Red Sox’s revenue to date: $44.8 million.