Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Boston Red Sox has unveiled a series of improvements to its ballpark ahead of the opening home game of the 2018 season, including new seating options.

The Red Sox begin their home campaign against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park tomorrow (Thursday). For the new season, a row of 30 seats in left field has been added past the Visitors’ Dugout between Field Box sections 72 and 79. This additional row of seats is positioned behind the newly expanded protective netting system. The field wall in front of the new seats now aligns with the existing adjacent camera well.

The new netting system extends from Field Box Section 79 to Field Box Section 9, expanded from an area previously covering Field Box Section 61 to Field Box Section 29. The system stands at 12 feet, eight inches above the playing field and is a new field green colour to minimise the impact to sightlines in affected areas. All 30 MLB clubs extended protective netting for the 2018 season following a spate of incidents where fans were injured after being struck by balls and bats.

Fenway Park will now also offer the Jim Beam Dugout, a new field-level group seating area situated beyond the Red Sox dugout on the first base line, accommodating groups of 25 people. The new space is sold on a game-by-game basis and gives fans a view similar to the players by recreating the dugout experience with bats, helmets, and even a giant Gatorade cooler. Tickets for the space include a pregame meal in the National Car Rental Royal Rooters Club, a tour of the ballpark, and in-seat service for drinks and snacks during the game.

As part of a new partnership with Samuel Adams, the official beer of the Red Sox, the Right Field Roof Deck has been refreshed and rebranded as the Sam Deck. The space, which features a large bar and lounge seating area, will offer a variety of beers and many Sam Adams offerings. The space will also include a number of Sam Adams-inspired food items. Above the space is a newly constructed neon Sam Adams sign that sits nearly 74 feet long by 10 feet high, and the deck will feature a number of new signature Sam Adams signage elements.

‘Sammy’s on 3rd’ has replaced the 3rd Base Saloon in the third base concourse area near Gate E for the 2018 season. The bar area, which was last renovated prior to the 2016 season, has been rebranded with a number of Sam Adams signage elements, such as new murals and beer barrel tops. The bar area will feature extensive craft beers, highlighted by Sam Adams flavours.

The Red Sox have also worked with longtime partner Coca-Cola to refresh and enhance the Coca-Cola Corner spaces that exist in left field on the State Street Pavilion concourses. Green artificial turf flooring, new picnic tables and chairs, and a vintage Coca-Cola trailer are prominent new features of the revamped Coca-Cola Deck.

Aramark, Fenway Park’s concessionaire, will also introduce several new and locally inspired items to the ballpark’s concession menu in 2018.

Gilbane Inc., with offices in Boston, was the general contractor for the 2018 improvements. DAIQ Architects provided the architectural work. Over $300m (£213.4m/€244.7m) has been invested in the improvement of Fenway Park since 2002.

Image: Vegasjon