By Barry Janoff
March 30, 2012: More than 30 companies aligned with the Boston Red Sox have initiated or soon will begin activation to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.
Outdoor gear and apparel company L.L. Bean, which also is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, is among the latest to join a growing list of marketing partners, sponsors and local businesses taking part in the season-long event. Fenway Park officially opened April 20, 1912.
Among other partners of the Red Sox participating in the 100th anniversary celebration are John Hancock, JetBlue, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, Sports Authority, Volvo, W.B. Mason, Gulf Oil, Nikon, Dunkin' Donuts, Home Depot, DHL, Solar Blue and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
The celebration officially begins on opening day, April 13, when the Red Sox will play host to the Tampa Bay Rays. A week later, Boston will welcome the New York Yankees, with the April 20 game scheduled to start at 3 PM., the same time the first game ever played at Fenway Park — against the then-New York Highlanders —was played in 1912. Both teams will wear 1912 throw-back uniforms to mark the event.
Fenway Park has already received a special anniversary present. The Red Sox had been working with the Massachusetts Historic Commission and the National Park Service over the past few months to have Fenway Park added to the National Register of Historic Places. Earlier this month, the club received notification from the National Park Service that the application has been approved.
Among the marketing support, JetBlue Airways has unveiled a custom, Red Sox-themed paint scheme on one of its Airbus A320 planes. JetBlue has been the official airline of the Boston Red Sox since 2008 and last year signed an eight-year extension as the team's official airline and the official airline of Fenway Park.
Gulf sponsored a documentary, Inside Fenway Park: An Icon At 100, narrated by Matt Damon, which was produced by National Geographic and debuted on PBS stations nationwide this week.
The L.L.Bean Bootmobile will visit Boston and Kenmore Square on April 13 on the first stop of the company's 2012 Bootmobile Tour as part of opening day festivities. The company is also offering fans the opportunity to win "The Ultimate Outdoor Experience," which includes participation in an outdoor activity with a current Red Sox player in Fenway Park, followed by a tour of the Park and tickets to the game that night.
In addition, L.L.Bean said it would continue to sponsor Red Sox home game rain delays in 2012, but with a new, 100th anniversary-inspired signature tarp.
"We look forward to working with the Red Sox and Fenway Park to provide [ways for people] to engage in outdoor activities while feeding their passion for baseball."
"We're excited to team up with L.L.Bean, a long-time partner, as we both celebrate our 100th anniversaries in 2012," Sam Kennedy, Red Sox evp/COO, said in a statement. "Fenway Park and L.L.Bean are two 'institutions' committed to helping to create meaningful experiences for fans, whether it be for those attending a ball game, or by providing the gear or instruction to pursue an outdoor activity."
On April 19, which is an off-day for the team, the Red Sox will host a Fenway Park Open House, a free event for fans to tour the 100-year-old ballpark. Included will be historical artifacts, photographs and banners on display along with a chance to meet Red Sox legends and "visit parts of the ballpark generally inaccessible to fans."
On April 28, Fenway Park will host an auction of memorabilia from the collection of the late Red Sox Hall of Famer Ted Williams. An auction preview, free and open to the public, will be held April 25-27.
Under the auspices of Hunt Auctions, it will consist of several hundred pieces, including Williams 1949 MVP plaque, his Hall of Fame Induction presentation ring, a game-used bat from the 1960 All-Star Game and a ball signed by Babe Ruth and personalized to Williams. The items come from the collection of Williams' daughter, Claudia. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the auction will be donated to The Jimmy Fund, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Boston Red Sox.
Liverpool Football Club will travel to North America this summer for a pre-season tour presented by Standard Chartered. The 12-day tour will feature matches against AS Roma at Fenway Park as part of the 100th anniversary celebration and the and Tottenham Hotspur in Baltimore. Liverpool FC is owned by Fenway Sports Group, led by principle owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner, whose holdings also include the Red Sox, Fenway Park, Rousch Fenway Racing and 80% of New England Sports Network.
A plethora of items are available, including an official Fenway Park: 100 Years coffee table book, patches, pennents, coins, photos, hats, T-shirts and even very limited-edition of seats removed from Fenway Park during rennovations. Among the tributes, legendary composer John Williams (Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Superman, Indiana Jones) was commissioned to write a special tribute, "Fanfare for Fenway Park."
Additional events and marketing activations will be unveiled after the season begins.
"An appreciation of the outdoors is part of our heritage, as is our strong connection to all things New England – including baseball, " Steve Fuller, L.L.Bean CMO, said in a statement regarding their alignement with the Red Sox and Fenway Park. "In our 100th anniversary year, we hope to inspire people to get outdoors and encourage a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts. We look forward to working with the Red Sox and Fenway Park to provide unique opportunities for New Englanders to engage in outdoor activities while feeding their passion for all things baseball."
PHOTO: Fenway Park 100 Years courtesy Boston Red Sox