Boston Red Sox Sign Sponsorship Deal with MGM Resorts

MGM Springfield Logo Fenway Park - MGM Resorts Red Sox Partnership

The MGM Springfield logo likely will go where the Foxwoods logo appeared on the Green Monster the past 5 seasons.

The Boston Red Sox and MGM Resorts International signed a 5-year sponsorship deal for Fenway Park this week. The deal means MGM Resorts can place its logo around Fenway Park for the next five years.

MGM Resorts is the owner of MGM Springfield, a $960 million casino which opened in Western Massachusetts in August 2018. Presumably, MGM Springfield will be the main focus of marketing at the Boston Red Sox’s venerable baseball stadium.

In announcing the deal, MGM Resorts said that MGM Springfield now is the “official and exclusive resort casino of the Boston Red Sox.”

Jim Murren, the chairman of MGM Resorts, said in a press release, “We are excited to enter into this historic partnership with the Boston Red Sox. Combining the two iconic brands of the Red Sox and MGM Resorts will create a new one-of-a-kind fan experience for baseball fans unique to not only New England and MGM Springfield but the rest of the country.”

Foxwoods Casino Deal Expired

A prior 5-year sponsorship deal between the Boston Red Sox and Foxwoods Casino ended on the final day of 2018, though the casino hosted one last Red Sox-related event in January 2019. Foxwoods Casino, which is owned by the Mashantucket Pequot tribe of Connecticut, is located in Eastern Connecticut.

Sam Kennedy, president of the Boston Red Sox, said the proximity of MGM Springfield to Boston made the latest deal a natural fit. Kennedy added, “This is such a natural partnership for our two brands. MGM has set the standard in the hospitality and entertainment industry and their recent expansion into the Commonwealth makes them a clear partner. We are thrilled to welcome them to the Red Sox family and look forward to a long collaboration.”

MGM Springfield Logos at Fenway

Visitors to Fenway Park will have no trouble seeing the MGM Springfield’s presence. The Green Monster will sport one of the casino’s massive roaring lion logos. Another logo will be placed behind home place, while fans will see smaller logos in strategic locations elsewhere through the facility.

The new partners also noted that Red Sox radio and other team controlled media outlets — which certainly refers to the Red Sox local tv broadcaster, NESN Network.

MGM Resorts plans to host “VIP gameday hospitality” events at Fenway Park to promote the local casino in Boston. Meanwhile, the team’s Winter Weekend will be hosted at the MGM Springfield, an integrated resort with large amounts of convention space.

It is a good time for MGM Resorts to get in on the game. The Boston Red Sox are the World Series champions and are coming off their winningest season ever. In fact, the team’s 107 regular season wins have been surpassed only 6 times in the 148-year history of organized pro baseball in the United States.

No Deal for Encore Boston Harbor

Wynn Resorts, which is opening the $2.4 billion Encore Boston Harbor in the Boston suburb of Everett this June, did not state if it bid on the Red Sox commercial partnership. Given the global name recognition and local popularity of the Red Sox, a deal between the only casino in the Boston area would have made sense.

Clyde Barrow, a gaming analyst and a professor at the University of Texas, said several factors likely played into the decision. Barrow said, “The biggest factor is that MGM is open and Encore isn’t. The second is that MGM has casinos across the U.S. and from the Sox’s perspective, that means bigger bucks. MGM is well positioned for sports betting and will have a lead over Encore when they do open.”

Wynn’s High-End Clientele

Another reason Wynn Resorts might not have pursued the deal as aggressively is the image Wynn traditionally projects. Barrow added, “Wynn as a company appeals to a different class of gamblers, quite literally. Their marketing depends on whales that fly in from Macau and China. That’s not to say they’re not baseball fans, it’s just a different clientele.”

Gaming analysts believe the MGM-Red Sox deal is a missed opportunity for Encore Boston Harbor and the city of Everett. Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno rejoiced over the deal’s signing, stating, “I’m very happy that these talks have now come to fruition. It’s fantastic that these two world class organizations come together as one in our Springfield. Exciting times in our Springfield and another ‘Springfield First.’ And yes, of course I’m glad they chose Springfield…it’s all about positive relationships.”