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Fenway to host college football, including BC-UConn

Boston College was not the home team when the Eagles played Notre Dame in the Shamrock Series at Fenway Park in 2015.
Boston College was not the home team when the Eagles played Notre Dame in the Shamrock Series at Fenway Park in 2015. File/Barry Chin/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Fenway Park is getting back in the football business with plans to make it an annual event.

Three games, all featuring New England college teams, are scheduled for November. Brown hosts Dartmouth on Nov. 10 with UMass playing Maine the next day.

On Nov. 18, UConn will host Boston College. There will be a number of high school games as well.

“There’s enough interest from college and high school teams to do this every year. That would be fantastic,” Red Sox team president Sam Kennedy said on Thursday. “We’ll see how it develops but we’d like to keep it going.”

Notre Dame beat BC, 19-16, at Fenway in 2015 before a sellout crowd of 38,686. Fenway Sports Management offered to host a BC home game during the 2016 season but was rebuffed by athletic director Brad Bates.

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They turned instead to UConn and found a partner in new athletic director David Benedict. He agreed to move a home game against BC from Hartford to Fenway. UConn received a $1.125 million guarantee — the largest in school history — and 22,000 of 39,000 tickets to relocate its home game to Fenway.

“We could not be happier to take part,” Benedict said.

BC did not receive any guarantee, will get an allotment of 7,000 tickets, and again be the visiting team only a few miles from its Chestnut Hill campus.

BC will again be the visiting team only a few miles from its Chestnut Hill campus.

“We could not be happier to take part,” Benedict said.

In a statement, Bates said, “This is a great opportunity for our fans to see us play seven games in Boston . . . We are excited about the chance to play a game in one of American’s most iconic sports venues.”

The Huskies were 3-9 but have bought back Randy Edsall as head coach. The Eagles finished 7-6 with a victory against Maryland in the Quick Lane Bowl. It will be BC’s 77th game at Fenway.

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“We’re really excited that UConn and BC were willing to make it happen,” Kennedy said. “[Benedict] was excited about the opportunity. It should be a great way to highlight their program.”

UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford felt the same way. The Minutemen, an independent FBS program, were 2-10 last season. They played three home games at Gillette Stadium.

“We were in talks about this since late last spring. It exciting for our program,” Bamford said. “From a visibility standpoint, it’s a great opportunity. We wanted to be in Boston and plant the flag there.”

UMass averaged 17,166 fans for the three games at Gillette last season. Playing Maine should help draw a good crowd to Fenway.

“It’s perfect for a game against a New England opponent,” Bamford said. “It’ll be Veterans Day weekend and we hope we can make it an event for our alums and our corporate partners. It should really help us.”

The Sox also plan to hold an Irish hurling match at Fenway once the football field is down. Galway defeated Dublin before a crowd of 27,77 in 2015.

“November is a good month for us,” Kennedy said. “We want to activate the ballpark as much as possible once the baseball season is over. The ballpark is a great venue.”

Kennedy said shifting the field from baseball to football proved to be relatively easy in 2015. That process will be less complicated with improvements to the park that will include a removable wall in front of the bullpens in right field. That will allow for more space behind the end zone.

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Several baseball stadiums — Yankee Stadium, Tropicana Field and AT&T Park — have hosted football bowl games in recent years. That idea is “intriguing” to Kennedy but he believes the Sox will stay with regular-season games involving regional teams.

“It can be a special event for a New England school,” he said. “We’ll probably continue to focus on that.”

Game times and ticket information for the games will be announced at a later date.