Thursday, September 29, 2011

Red Sox Brand Remains Strong

By Zach Baru

For those who believe the Boston Red Sox are simply a "sports team" and not a "brand", one only has to walk down the streets of Boston at any given neighborhood, and at any given time of day to realize how powerful that Red Sox logo really is.  It is everywhere.  It's on hats, shirts, cars, you name it.  Where ever you may go in Boston, you are sure to be somewhere in the presence of one of the most important, and popular brands in all of New England, the Boston Red Sox.

In fact, it is so popular, it dominates the media.  In newspapers, on television or the radio, and social network sites, the Red Sox are constantly a topic of conversation.  There are countless books on the idea of this "fascination" we have for the Red Sox.  So what happens when an event like last night occurs, and an entire region is shocked by an occurrence of events all unfolding within three minutes.  What is the current state of the Red Sox brand?

Is it so strong that it can never be weakened?  Boston has been through this before.  Every generation has their story.  But what is so interesting about what happened last night is not so much the ending, but what lead up to it.  An entire month of negativity, in which case some fans actually wanted the Red Sox to loose.

So hear we are.  This is a very different situation than the one in 2003.  Then, the momentum of the Red Sox brand was not slowing down, it was only growing.  It was feeding off of the hunger for a World Series title.  Eight years later we already have two titles, and with recent success we expect just that, even more success.  

It became evident at the beginning of the season that there had been a bit of a change in Red Sox Nation.  Suddenly, games weren't selling out so fast.  More tickets were available on game days.  And fans were showing up later in the game, and leaving earlier in the evening.  This continued throughout the season, raising the question, is the bubble popping for Red Sox Nation?

From a brand standpoint, as long as the seats are all sold, the ratings are high, and the headlines are still dominated with coverage, the Red Sox brand remains strong.  Even if we go from baseball playoffs to hockey season in a matter of minutes.  Only a brand as powerful as the Red Sox can get away with that.

Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and reached at

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