BOSTON -- As part of their long-term commitment to Fenway Park, the Red Sox on Saturday detailed plans for the creation of four new seating "neighborhoods" that will be developed in the historic ballpark starting in the 2006 season. The improvements will come in phases over a three-year period.
The announcement follows the March 23 declaration by principal owner John W. Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president/CEO Larry Lucchino that the Red Sox are committed to remaining at 93-year-old Fenway -- Major League Baseball's oldest and smallest ballpark. The club is planning to complete work on the ballpark in advance of the 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park in April 2012.
As part of the franchise's continuing effort to create more opportunities for fans to experience the Red Sox at Fenway Park, the club will renovate and redesign the existing .406 Club and Roof Level.
The club will create a Pavilion Level, which includes the Pavilion Club Seats, the Pavilion Box Seats, the Pavilion Reserved Seats and the EMC Club on the lower level of a renovated .406 Club.
In the three-year process, the Red Sox will create room for approximately 2,500 more fans. The legal occupancy of Fenway increases next year from 36,298 to 38,805.
After the 2005 season, the Red Sox will remove the glass that now encloses the .406 Club and split the large area behind home plate into two levels. The lower level will be the EMC Club in connection with a new corporate sponsorship between the Red Sox and EMC Corporation, their new official information storage and management provider. Hopkinton-based EMC is the largest information technology company headquartered in Massachusetts.
The open-air EMC Club, which will be at the suite level, will have high-end amenities, including wider and heated seats, waiter and waitress services, private dining rooms, a business conference center and a dedicated concierge to facilitate purchases of tickets to Fenway and other entertainment venues. Members will have VIP parking opportunities as well.
Directly above the EMC Club, the Pavilion Level will include the Home Plate Pavilion Club. Along the first-base and third-base lines, the new level will have Pavilion Club, Pavilion Box and Reserved Seats, as well as new, dedicated standing-room areas.
The range of prices will be consistent with the current menu of Red Sox tickets ($25 for dedicated standing room to $275 for the top-of-the-line premium seats with the most features and amenities). Red Sox tickets currently range from $12 to $300.
"These new areas and additional seats are designed to help fulfill the wishes and meet the demand of many long-time fans," said Red Sox chief operating officer Mike Dee. "Ever since John, Tom, Larry and their partners purchased the club, fans have been asking them to remove the glass that separates the .406 Club from the Fenway atmosphere.
"In addition, many long-time season ticket holders have told us they would love newer, wider seats and amenities found in new ballparks. They will have priority in the relocation process to the new areas.
"Finally, with a waiting list for season tickets of more than 3,000, we can begin to make a dent in that list as we liberate seats from those who relocate to the new areas.
"As we phase in seats on the Pavilion Level over the next three years, we will add new standing room to an area that has none, add reserved seating comparable to today's grandstand and box seats, and add suite-like seats with spectacular locations and remarkable amenities."
With fresh air rather than a glass barrier, the newly constructed areas within the existing footprint of the .406 Club will improve the ambiance and intimacy, while providing such improvements as wider seats, extra leg room, new food and beverage options, improved access and club lounges.
"We want to bring Fenway Park's premium seating areas and amenities up to the major league standard without compromising the integrity, character and charm that distinguish Fenway Park," Dee said.
Even though the current .406 Club will be divided into two areas on separate levels, the EMC Club will maintain a tribute to the greatest hitter who ever lived by having exactly 406 seats and by housing a new Ted Williams Lounge. The current .406 Club, originally called the 600 Club, has 606 seats, but was renamed for the Splendid Splinter July 22, 2002, at a Fenway tribute 17 days after Williams died. The 600 Club opened in 1989.
EMC provides the information storage and management systems and software that protect and manage the players' and coaches' digitized video archives and statistical records -- in the newly renovated clubhouse and on the road -- as well as the club's photographic archives, Fanfoto service, and Microsoft Exchange environment. The company, with more than $8 billion in 2004 revenues, employs 7,000 people in Massachusetts and 23,000 worldwide.
"The Red Sox and EMC have a lot more in common than our New England roots, our passion for winning and our absolute focus on our customers" said Joe Tucci, EMC president and CEO. "We both appreciate that sustaining leadership is even more difficult than attaining leadership. And we both understand the value of information in solving problems and exploiting new opportunities.
"For the World [Series] champion Red Sox, that means everything from being able to instantly access statistics and digitized video for scouting opponents, to keeping e-mails and key records safe yet readily accessible and authenticated," Tucci continued. "All over the world, EMC's people and technology are helping winning organizations like the Red Sox solve their information management challenges and build strong, enduring businesses. We are excited about this new partnership and look forward to helping the Red Sox create the new EMC Club at Fenway Park."
The Red Sox also announced EMC's commitment to the Red Sox Scholars program, which provides college scholarships to academically talented but financially challenged middle school students. Working with EMC, the Red Sox will expand the program's reach and services. EMC, which prioritizes math and science education in its extensive community involvement programs, has supported the Red Sox Foundation since its inception.
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.