Business rules different for Red Sox, Patriots

Business rules different for Red Sox, Patriots
March 1, 2012, 10:25 pm
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On page B2 of Thursday's Boston Globe, tucked neatly under the "New England in brief" headline was an interesting piece of business news.

Boston City Councilor Michael Ross filed for a hearing to "examine the lease of public streets near Fenway Park to the Red Sox."

That lease, which costs the team 186,000 per year (or roughly 100 times less than they'll pay Josh Beckett this season) has netted the team 45 million over the nine years of the agreement, according to an investigative story in the Globe last November.

It is the sweetest of sweetheart deals and credit to the Globe for pulling the rug back on it.

The streets leased - Yawkey Way and Lansdowne Street - were labelled "urban blight" back in 2002 by the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

The reason? The Globe explained in November that it was, "To legally justify taking them from the city and handing control to the Red Sox. This is a common tool the authority uses to take destitute property in the city for redevelopment, though it is unclear how these prosperous streets fit the definition."

Now that the negotiations are moving forward though, the news is wedged in the "New England in brief" section?

We'll see where the Globe goes with this going forward but it is interesting to see the indignation expressed over a far-less-expensive proposal put forth on behalf of the Patriots.

Exactly two years before the Globe wrote its expose of the lease deal, the Globe wrote about about stimulus funds that were being ticketed for a pedestrian bridge over Route 1 in Foxborough.

The article dripped indignation that the 9 million bridge would be financed by federal funds given that Patriots owner Robert Kraft was 468th on the Forbes list of richest men.

Given the Patriots built their 325 million stadium, which opened in 2002, and have since added Patriot Place -- which includes restaurants, shopping and a hotel -- the impact there on the regional economy and jobs is surely comparable to what the Red Sox generate around Fenway for the city of Boston.

Consider this: If the city had pushed to get a portion of the revenue those leased streets generate for the Red Sox they'd have certainly made as much as - if not more - than the 9 million the federal government was to have spent on the proposed bridge which would have been maintained by The Kraft Group.

The state has since denied the proposal by The Kraft Group. Twice.

We'll see where the Red Sox lease deal goes. And the attendant flavor of the coverage the Globe brings to it.