How Advertising Took Over the Green Monster

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Today’s post comes from BIGfish President David Gerzof Richard.

This season’s poor performance by the Red Sox provided me countless hours to sit in Fenway’s stands, staring blankly at the Green Monster. As a season ticket holder and a Emerson College marketing professor this experience, in the midst of peanuts, beer, and an occasional Red Sox win, got me thinking: Has the Green Monster always been a massive wall of advertisements? My team at BIGfish and I decided to do some research on the famous wall that has become a landmark at Fenway Park.
A quick search online told us that the Green Monster wasn’t always green–in fact, the original wall was plastered with advertisements. Built in 1912 as a part of the original ballpark, it was known simply as “the Wall” and was made of wood. In 1934 the wooden wall was covered in tin and concrete, but the advertisements remained. It actually wasn’t until 1947 that the advertisements were removed and the wall was painted the classic green color it is today.
Believe it or not, starting in 1947 the only signage allowed in the park for more than 20 years was a billboard in right field promoting the Jimmy Fund, an official team charity benefiting cancer research.
In the late 1960s brands began advertising within Fenway Park once again, but it wasn’t until the new millennium that advertisements returned to what’s now known as the Green Monster. Since then, Fenway Park has slowly populated the legendary wall with advertisements.
We put together the slideshow below to illustrate the gradual appearance of advertisements on the Green Monster over the past 12 years. As you can see, in 2000, there wasn’t a single ad on the Green Monster; the ever-present Citgo sign remained visible behind the wall, but no ads were actually on it.
In 2001 and 2002, an innocent Boston Red Sox logo was painted above the scoreboard. Barely noticeable.
Cut to 2003. This was the year that 269 seats were installed on top of the Green Monster, giving ticketholders a unique perspective of the field. Along with those new seats came two new logos: billboards sprouting from the Green Monster advertising Sports Authority and Volvo.
Since then, the Green Monster has gradually added more and more signage to its green canvas. Click through the slideshow to see the changes. Today, we can spot 12 brands on the famous Fenway landmark.
Have any of you diehard Red Sox fans noticed this gradual change to the Green Monster? Do you think it cheapens the legendary wall, or are advertisements the norm at ballparks these days? We just hope Fenway doesn’t become known as “Volvo Park” one day…

 

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