Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Are Season Passes To Your Sports Bar The Next Big Thing?

Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill is opening near Fenway Park next week with a twist.

It’s selling season tickets.

For a one-time $500 fee, patrons will get a guaranteed table during Red Sox games. A same “ticket” for Patriots games costs $350 and $250 for Celtics games.

A rendering of Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill near Fenway Park

“The program was developed to fill the seats at the hours when they are empty,” said the restaurant’s managing partner John Mascia. “We’ll be full before the game and full after the game, but people typically leave when the game starts.”

On the surface, the $500 might seem tough to swallow, but if played right, it could be an incredible value. Consider the fact that the person who buys the season ticket gets a $25 food and beverage credit every time they show up. Watch 20 games at the restaurant and you’ve already made your money back.

“If you don’t have a ticket, and Fenway is obviously frequently sold out, we want to be the next best thing,” Mascia said.

Mascia says that some passes have been bought by individuals, but the program was devised with corporate America in mind. So far Remy’s has sold 170 season passes and one company bought 50.

So is Remy’s on to something?

“First of all, you have to have the inventory,” said Matt Shendell, president of Paige Management Group in New York, which owns The Ainsworth, a popular upscale sports bar in Manhattan. “And you also have to have tables available to take care of valuable customers. Those might not be the people who would buy something like this season pass.”

Shendell said he considered selling memberships to his nightclub Dune in the Hamptons, but ultimately didn’t think the upfront revenue was worth it at the expense of buzz.

Ainsworth does frequently get a "before game" crowd from the people attending New York Knicks and Rangers games at Madison Square Garden six blocks away and Shendell says he has seen evidence of an uptick in people who might have previously gone to the game now staying at the bar.

“The season pass idea is not for us, but I can see how this could work in Boston and in a place like Wrigleyville in Chicago," Shendell said.

As of now, Mascia says there’s no limit as to the number of people a season ticket holder can bring to a table and the season ticket holder does not have to give up his table when the game ends.