Globe's hacky piece on BC turning down a return trip to Fenway in 2016 because there was a lot to address even in a short, poorly argued article. I've been a huge proponent for more football at Fenway, but that doesn't make it the perfect destination for BC under any old circumstance. BC should and will return to Fenway, but it needs to be under the right circumstances.
2016 was always a no go
Even with its proximity, Fenway remains a gimmick/marketing game for the BC fanbase. It is not part of the traditional on campus experience and requires a change in behavior from our fans and on the team operations. We already have a huge gimmick game in 2016. In case anyone at Fenway or the Globe forgot, BC is putting a ton of energy and marketing into the trip to Ireland. Even with the disappointing ticket sales, it is taking tons of coordination and tapping into our most loyal fans and customers. If BC had included Fenway in 2016, it would have hurt Ireland all that much more. I assume the negative comments and information about the Ireland trip were planted by Fenway people who can't believe BC passed on the opportunity. And although we are not hosting the UMass game at Gillette, having another game so close to campus also hurts demand for anything special BC might have attempted.
Losing the home field advantage
Playing a road game at Fenway was brilliant. BC kept travel costs to a minimum yet could leverage the recruiting and marketing aspect of the game. Who cares that we dressed in the visitor's locker room? The number of people who paid attention to Boston College being away in Boston's most famous landmark was minimal. If you are reading this blog you pay attention. If you are a casual BC fan or casual college football fan, you probably didn't realize and forgot about it five minutes after the game ended. If UConn or UMass want to move their future home games against us to Fenway, I would be all for it. It would be easier for our fans and a less hostile environment. However, us elevating those opponents by choosing to play them in Fenway is a bad idea. Think of it this way: would more UConn fans buy tickets and pour into Fenway than Alumni? Where is our team more likely to feel at home?
Keeping as many games as possible at Alumni
Financially I am sure Fenway would have been as successful or even more than a standard home game. But there are ancillary benefits to a game on campus that BC can't always measure with dollars. Games bring fans and alumni back to campus. It creates a feeling. A connection. It is a great showcase of what BC is. It also serves as a great tool for future students. Plus the more we move home games away from BC, the more fuel we give to the neighbors who hate BC. There are already too many restrictions on our home games. If we create a regular alternative, how long before the locals cap home games at five and demand more played at Fenway? Plus keeping games on campus adds value to our donor programs and our season ticket packages. Scheduling, bad football, and tone deaf marketing has hurt our ticket sales and made buying a package questionable at best. If we take more and more home games out of the package, we are telling our loyal customers that the games they are buying for Alumni have even less value. It will erode what value those seats currently have.
Aside from winning, we should use our marketing efforts to create a better Alumni Stadium experience so that people want to come to our regular home field.
Fenway's baseball problem
The Red Sox may exploit Fenway any chance they get, but it will always be a baseball stadium first. In 99% of the seasons, the only time to play in Fenway will be November. For TV reasons and overall scheduling reasons, the ACC would prefer that all our November games be conference games. Why should we move desirable important ACC games away from Fenway?
What Fenway should do
The Red Sox would have an event at Fenway every day of the year if they could. Them planting an anti-BC story in the Globe is just sour grapes and another way to put pressure on BC to play more games at Fenway. But if they want a regular game there, then it is time to start the Fenway Bowl. That sort of event would be perfect for BC. We could play there often. It would be lucrative for both parties and allow BC to leverage the Boston aspect of our school and football. Even in the years when BC wasn't in the game, there would probably be enough interest from other ACC fanbases to keep the bowl viable.
BC needs to put all of its energy into improving the Alumni experience. There is no reason to go to Fenway in 2017 either. In my opinion the earliest games to consider bringing back to Fenway is Holy Cross in 2018. But to do that, BC would have to move the game from September to November. There is historical justification for playing the Crusaders in Fenway and it could be a way to turn a less desirable into a hot ticket.