On top of Boston’s come-from-behind, 5-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday afternoon, the fans at Fenway Park helped the club make history; with 37,373 in attendance for the game, the team matched the longest consecutive major league sellout streak of 455 games, originally set by the Cleveland Indians. Between 12 June 1995 and 02 April 2001, every game at Jacobs Field, now named Progressive Field, sold out as the Indians won two American League pennants. Fenway’s current streak began uneventfully on 15 May 2003 with a 12-3 win over the visiting Texas Rangers; since then, Boston has played every game in front of a capacity crowd of Red Sox supporters, in part due to the recent on-field success of the team, which includes two championships following an 86-year drought.
Since the start of the sellout streak, Fenway Park has set new attendance records every season. In 2002, the park averaged 32,726 fans per game and the team sold 2,650,862 tickets; in contrast, on its way to the 2007 World Series title, the Red Sox sold a record 2,970,755 tickets and averaged 36,675 each game through the turnstiles. In addition to the on-field success of the team, the surge of interest in the team may also be attributed to the addition of approximately 6,000 seats discretely added by ownership which took control of the team in 2002. No longer officially the smallest park in the majors – Pittsburgh’s PNC Park holds that distinction with 38,365, though Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum, capable of holding over 50,000 fans, seats just over 35,000 due to the closing of the third deck – Boston’s home field now boasts a day-time of 39,195 and a night-time capacity of 39,605.
With the Red Sox going on the road for a brief three-game series in Texas against the Rangers, the team expects to set the new consecutive game streak of capacity crowds on Monday against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, with all games officially sold out through the end of the season. With Boston vying for another post-season berth and consecutive world championships, the sellout streak is expected to continue into 2009 and beyond.