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‘We’ll be ready to go as soon as a deal is done,’ says Red Sox president Sam Kennedy

Team president and CEO Sam Kennedy said those in the Red Sox front office "have tried to take the mind-set that the labor negotiations are happening way above our pay grade."Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

ORLANDO — The game of baseball is frozen in its tracks.

But when it comes to the business of baseball, the Red Sox and the 29 other teams are staying in full-steam-ahead mode.

“We really have tried to take the mind-set that the labor negotiations are happening way above our pay grade in the front office, and we’re taking this business-as-usual approach with respect to selling tickets, selling sponsorships, booking concerts, trying to make sure we’re ready to go, and hopefully we’ll be ready to go as soon as a deal is done,” Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy said Wednesday as the second day of the owners’ meetings wrapped up.


On Thursday, shortly after the meetings end, commissioner Rob Manfred will hold a news conference and is expected to address the stalled labor negotiations with the players. That update is expected to include an announcement that next week’s start to spring training will be delayed.

Commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to speak on the stalled negotiations with players on Thursday.Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

The differences of opinion between the players and owners over how to address competitive integrity and getting younger players paid earlier remain vast.

That gap won’t be bridged soon, not without a date scheduled for new talks over the core economic issues and with neither side motivated to make concessions. Before the saga enters its next chapter with Manfred’s news conference, the titans of the industry were briefed by the heads of the sports’ business arms on assorted long-term issues such as ticketing, social media, and streaming, as well as recent results from their assorted ventures.

The owners heard that business has been pretty good.

“There’s good momentum in the industry,” said Kennedy. “From a business perspective, the league had a good year in terms of sponsorships and licensing and merchandise.”

In terms of the Red Sox, questions about spring training have led to a significant decrease in advance ticket sales for games at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.


“Given the uncertainty, ticket sales are down, for sure,” said Kennedy. “I don’t have a specific number right now, but definitely, definitely down. The last I checked, 20, 30 percent down a week ago.”

Advance ticket sales for Red Sox spring training games are down, according to Sam Kennedy.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Like every other executive here, Kennedy kept a tight lid on any topic related to the big-league team, whether current players or those hoped to be traded for or signed. Minor leaguers, though?

“We had our winter warm-up camp down in Florida recently, and minor league camps will proceed as scheduled,” said Kennedy.

When it comes to streaming — fans watching Red Sox games via a subscription-based app or app-like service as opposed to their cable provider — that’s “a big, big topic, the future of media,” said Kennedy. “We don’t have any answers, but I do think you’ll see clubs and the league starting to examine ways to go direct to consumers at some point in the future.”

For Red Sox viewers, could that be as soon this season, whenever it starts?

“Don’t have any set plans — it’s a possibility,” said Kennedy. “There are customers who would like to have NESN as a streaming service.”

Streaming presents opportunities for teams to offer different ways to present the game based on target audience. For example, devotees of sports betting or analytics.

“We’re only limited by creativity, and I think this presents great marketing opportunities for baseball because it could create separate broadcasts,” said Kennedy.


Michael Silverman can be reached at michael.silverman@globe.com.