MGM locks up Fenway Park space that belonged to Foxwoods

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In a “Monster” move, MGM Resorts International has forged a deal with the Boston Red Sox that will enable the Las Vegas-based operator to plaster its name all over Fenway Park, presumably in places where it used to say “Foxwoods Resort Casino.”

MGM Resorts, whose six-month-old MGM Springfield casino is providing southeastern Connecticut's casinos with new competition, announced Friday that it’s preparing to slap its lion’s head logo on the Green Monster — Fenway’s famed left-field wall, considered prime real estate for anyone making a play for New Englanders.

Foxwoods has advertised on the wall and elsewhere around Fenway since 2014. Foxwoods officials declined to comment when asked if the Mashantucket Pequot-owned casino had sought to extend its sponsorship deal with the Red Sox, which expired.

For the last five years, Foxwoods has hosted the team's annual Winter Weekend, a fan-friendly event featuring appearances by dozens of current and former players and coaches. Starting next year, the event will shift to MGM Springfield, according to MGM Resorts’ announcement.

In January, Foxwoods introduced former Red Sox standout David “Big Papi” Ortiz as an “ambassador” for the casino. Ortiz reportedly filmed a promotion at Foxwoods this past weekend.

Spokesmen for the parties involved in the MGM-Red sox deal said Monday they couldn’t discuss the negotiations that led up to it.

“We don’t provide details about the sponsorship process other (than) to say that we are very pleased with our new relationship with MGM and are looking forward to a long relationship with them,” Mark Lev, president of Fenway Sports Management, which handled the multiyear deal, wrote in an email.

Lev said Ortiz’s partnership with Foxwoods did not involve the Red Sox or Fenway Sports Management. 

In addition to branding Fenway’s left-field wall, MGM Resorts will advertise behind home plate, as Foxwoods has, and on Red Sox radio and other team-controlled media. MGM Springfield will host promotional events throughout the year as part of the arrangement.

“This is such a natural partnership for our two brands," said Sam Kennedy, the Red Sox president and chief executive officer. “MGM has set the standard in the hospitality and entertainment industry and their recent expansion into the Commonwealth makes them a clear partner.”

In another deal involving a gaming company and a professional sports franchise, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment announced last week that it has a new “strategic partnership” with New York City Football Club, a Major League Soccer team.

Members of Mohegan Sun’s Momentum Rewards program will have exclusive access to the team’s on-field space prior to games at Yankee Stadium.

Mohegan Sun also has marketing programs in place with the New York Yankees, the Boston Bruins, the Boston Celtics and others. Many of the agreements have been in place for more than a decade, according to George Galinsky, Mohegan Gaming’s senior vice president of marketing communications.

“Both Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods have had similar partnerships with the Red Sox in the past,” Galinsky said.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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