Boston College football is passing on going back to Fenway Park

Boston College’s campus is just four miles from Fenway Park, while Notre Dame’s is 891 miles. But when the two football programs faced off at Fenway on November 19th, 2015, the Fighting Irish were the home team.

Fenway Sports Management, which runs Fenway Park, has been helping Boston College since 2004 to market its athletic programs and played a major role in bringing the Eagles and Fighting Irish together at Fenway Park. But according to the Boston Globe, when FSM proposed that BC play the University of Connecticut on November 19th, 2016 at Fenway Park, the Eagles said no.

Despite being much closer in proximity to Fenway Park, Boston College was named the visiting team at Fenway against Notre Dame. What exactly did that mean for the Eagles? Well, even though their campus was much closer to the stadium than Notre Dame, the Irish enjoyed all the perks of a home game.

What exactly are those perks? The list is extensive, but to name a few…

  • Notre Dame received the majority of the nationally televised marketing in its installment of its Shamrock Series
  • The Fighting Irish were allotted 38,686 tickets while BC was given 5,000
  • The two end zones were labeled with “Notre Dame” and “Fighting Irish”
  • Notre Dame was able to dress in the Red Sox clubhouse while Boston College had to dress on campus and bus in uniform to the stadium.

Even though the Eagles would be given all those perks and be named the home team against UConn this year, they still said no.

BC athletic director Brad Bates claimed that because the team only has six games at home this year, moving another home game to Fenway is a non-starter.

“Boston College often receives requests to play home games at venues ranging from Gillette Stadium to Fenway Park,’’ Bates said. “We have consistently stated that we will consider the possibility only if it is more beneficial for our team, students, and fans, and only during those years in which we still have at least six games in Alumni Stadium. As a result, playing at Fenway Park during the 2016 season was never an option.’’

While BC may be frustrated with the way it was treated last year, the Eagles could be passing up on an incredible annual tradition.

“Given the positive feedback we received on last November’s Shamrock Series, the Red Sox would love to see a return of BC football to Fenway Park in the near future,’’ Sox president Sam Kennedy said. “We have extended the invitation for BC to return whenever it works for their schedule.’’

The current proposal from the Sox centers around the BC versus UConn game on November 19, 2016, which the Red Sox and Fenway Sports Management want to host on Yawkey Way. Terms of the offer haven’t been released, but Bates has implied BC doesn’t have interest in fewer games in Chestnut Hill this season.

The Eagles are already moving one home game across the Atlantic Ocean this season. BC will pay Georgia Tech $900,000 to play in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic in Dublin on September 3rd, and the Eagles will be the home team.

The next game of the season for Boston College will be against the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and that will be at Gillette Stadium.

While Fenway Park (around 39,000) is smaller than Alumni Stadium (44,500) on campus, that could be an advantage for the Eagles. BC’s average attendance at home last season was 30,204, it’s lowest in 25 seasons. This has also resulted in the school failing to meet expectations for the game in Dublin. Boston College forecast that fans would buy at least 10,000 tickets, but the game’s promoters have said Eagles’ fans have purchased around 5,000 compared to Georgia Tech’s 6,400.

For Boston College fans, Fenway wasn’t as great as you may think. Fans complained about the lack of tailgating, high ticket prices, and poor sight lines at the ballpark. So maybe staying away from Fenway in 2016 will be a blessing in disguise for the Eagles and their fans.

[Boston Globe]