Red Sox to add 800 seats, raise ticket prices average of 9 percent

Updated: November 16, 2007, 3:43 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- More fans will get to see the World Series champion Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park next year.

The Red Sox are adding more than 800 new seats as part of improvements planned for the 2008 season. Along with increased standing room areas, Fenway's capacity will approach 37,000.

"We understand the demand for such seats. Thus, we are adding to the supply,'' Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said.

The team is also raising ticket prices an average of 9 percent.

The new seats will be added to the third level above home plate. The pavilion area will be extended down the lines.

The pavilion seats will cost between $75 to $90. Standing room tickets will go for $25.

The team also plans to install new scoreboards, new stairways and elevators and open a year-round restaurant in center field that will have a view of the ballpark.

The announcement comes the same week the team said 2008 ticket prices would increase an average of 9 percent. Prices at Fenway range from $12 for upper bleachers seats to $125 for field box seats.

Lucchino said the extra revenue was needed to keep the team competitive, particularly as the rival New York Yankees see a major revenue increase when they move into a new stadium in 2009.

The new seats and other improvements are part of the annual offseason renovations the team has undertaken at the league's oldest and smallest ballpark since the ownership group led by John Henry bought the Red Sox in 2002.

Among the major renovations were adding seats above the "Green Monster'' in left field in 2003. Before last season, the team added a new bleacher section on the roof deck in right field.

"For decades, there was a presumption that Fenway Park had outlived its useful life and, sentiment aside, would have to be replaced by a modern facility in another location,'' Lucchino said. "We are eager to see, in 2012, this ballpark become the first ever to celebrate its 100th anniversary.''

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press