• Boston Skyline by Tim Sackton

Getting to know Boston Sports

Written by Ysmay.

Boston is home to several major league teams, all of them considered to be World Class. If you're going to make a life in Boston, you better brush up on the Boston Sports Teams - even if you hate sports. 

"Boston has a couple of different types of fans in my experience," says Brian Reich the founder and CEO of Thinking About Sports, "reflecting the makeup of the city and the divide between certain neighborhoods. The native Bostonians are the most committed fans, sticking with their teams through good times and bad. As you expand out into the suburbs - and count the large population of students who become temporary local residents - you get fans, but not necessarily deeply committed ones."

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox by Keith AllisonBoston Red Sox by Keith Allison

"Take Red Sox Nation," Brian continues, "there are plenty of die-hard Red Sox fans, people who have grown up with the team, take wins and losses very seriously. But the Red Sox are also a major draw for casual fans, those who like baseball and happen to live in Boston and surrounding areas. Those two different crowds, while they fill the same ballpark during the season, don't often mix. They don't have much in common, and to qualify as a true member of Red Sox Nation, many would argue you need to sport an authentic Boston accent, sit in the bleachers and be willing to fight, literally, for your team's honor. All the differences are forgotten when the team is winning ballgames - or playing the Yankees of course - but the difference in knowledge and passion among the different groups of fans is clear."

One of the founding members of the American League of Major League Baseball, the Red Sox are one of the four American teams to play in their original city.

Cursed by the Bambino, the Boston Red Sox have been notorious for losing. Luckily for the city of Boston the curse was broken in 2004, when the Red Sox took home the World Series Championship against the Arizona Cardinals. Terry Francona was given the coaching position in 2004 leading the Red Sox to their first World Series win since 1916. Home to David Ortiz (Big Papi), Jason Varitek, and Josh Beckett, the Red Sox have been home to many famous players. The Red Sox home field, Fenway Park, is the oldest field in MLB History. "Boston is, above all, a baseball town," remarks Brian.

"For the other sports in Boston - basketball, football, and hockey - the fan base is much smaller," Brian explains. "All three teams, the Celtics, Patriots and Bruins, have won championships in recent years (as have the Red Sox) and that has helped to increase interest, but you won't find many people shaping their identity around their affinity for one of those teams."

New England Patriots

Bill Belichick of the Patriots by Keith AllisonBill Belichick of the Patriots by Keith Allison

"Football, of course is the nation's most popular sport," says Brian, "and a perennial contender like the Patriots never suffers for support."

Formerly known as the Boston Patriots, the New England Patriots are the NFL team for Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

With MVP and All-Star quarterback Tom Brady leading the team, the New England Patriots have won three Super bowls since 2002. Head coach Bill Belichick has helped the Patriots create a football dynasty. 

When the Patriots are home, they play at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. 

Boston Bruins

"But the best reflection of the die-hard fan base (beyond baseball) in Boston is hockey," Brian continues. "The Bruins, of course, were one of the original six hockey teams, and in the northeast, kids grow up on playing hockey on frozen ponds. The college hockey programs at BU, Harvard and other schools are well supported and I assure you, the NHL lockout is leaving a big hole in people's lives right now."

Boston Bruins by Henry ZbyszynskiBoston Bruins by Henry Zbyszynski

Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup seven times including most recently in 2011 against the Vancouver Canucks, and have been a home to famous players such as Phil Esposito, and Bobby Orr.

In 2007 the Bruins replaced coach Dave Lewis with Claude Julien, former coach for the New Jersey Devils.

Boston Celtics

The Bruins share the TD Garden (known as the Fleet Center from 1995-2005) with the Celtics basketball team, who took home a championship in the 2007-2008 NBA Season.

Some of the Celtics rivalries have included the Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Boston Celtics current coach is Doc Rivers whom was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 1983.  

But is it difficult to join the fan communities? Brian says, "Absolutely."

"I found the community in general a tough place to infiltrate. A lot of people who grew up in and around the city have longstanding friendships and allegiances - to each other, their community, and their sports teams."

"Outsiders are welcomed, but rarely embraced. I would argue that part of the reason is because the Boston fan base - no matter the sport - doesn't feel the need to expand its ranks, the way a smaller market team (like my hometown Seattle Seahawks or Mariners) might. Boston has a long and very storied sports history and the fans who have grown up in Boston care deeply about their teams. It takes a long time, and a fair amount of effort, to demonstrate to locals that you aren't just signing on because of recent successes, and that you can truly appreciate not just the successful seasons, but the decades of futility that have hardened the hearts of so many."

"No doubt, Boston is a great sports town; dare I say world class. The options for viewing and participating in some of the greatest sporting events (don't forget the Boston Marathon!) at some of the finest sports venues in the world abound. But just know that its a pretty tight community of fans, and new entrants will stay on the outside until further notice." 

Tickets For Charity

It's no surprise that Boston's evangelical sports fans are so supportive of Tickets-For-Charity. Thanks to this Boston-based company, fans can get awesome tickets to events while supporting a good cause. Among the 114 charities benefiting from Tickets-For-Charity are Wounded Warriors, United Way, American Cancer Foundation, RedSox Foundation, Celtics’ Shamrock Foundation, and the Boston Food Bank.

"Jord Poster, one of the Priceline.com founding team members, launched Tickets-for-Charity in 2007 to turn buying tickets into giving," explains Jay Whitehead, the CEO of Tickets-For-Charity. "It took a lot of experimentation and investment by over 40 of New England’s most-successful entrepreneurs to both generate significant charitable donations and make the company profitable.  Since inception, Tickets-for-Charity in its Northeast regional proof market has raised $10 million for 110 charities.  In 2013, we go national and will gain profitability on about $17 million in [ticket] sales, with about $10 million generated for charity."

Tickets on TFC come from three main sources: pro sports teams in MLB, NBA, NFL, MLS and NHL (including Boston's own RedSox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and Revolution), corporations who have ticket blocks they are not fully utilizing, and music performers.  "Our supply teams work directly with donors and consigners of tickets, and make sure that donors get full face value tax deductions and that consigners get both some cash back and tax deductible credit for the amounts going to charity," says Jay.

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