With MLB Opening Day coming on Thursday, Red Sox fans in Massachusetts may be wondering if they’ll be able to place bets while watching games at Fenway Park.
The answer? Yes.
But not at a retail sportsbook.
Other professional sports teams, including some in Major League Baseball, feature retail sportsbooks inside their stadium, and the Boston Red Sox could join that list eventually. Current regulations, however, don’t allow for sportsbooks at sports arenas and stadiums in Massachusetts.
Still, there’s nothing stopping Red Sox fans from placing mobile bets at Fenway Park.
Now that sports betting in Massachusetts is live, PlayMA takes a closer look at the online betting experience at Fenway Park and the potential for a retail sportsbook there in the future.
Mobile betting at Fenway Park
Despite no official plans for a retail sportsbook at this time, online sports betting is permitted at Fenway Park.
The MLB revamped its internet access a couple years ago when it named Extreme Networks its official WiFi solutions provider. It just so happened that Fenway Park was the first MLB ballpark fitted with the network’s six solutions.
For any stadium to offer fans a quality mobile betting experience, high-speed internet is essential. Especially with the rise of live betting, fast and reliable internet capabilities blossomed into a must-have.
The MLB said its 2021 partnership with Extreme Network would greatly enhance the fan experience to use their phones during game action.
However, a quick Twitter search reveals a few complaints about Fenway Park’s WiFi.
fenway park wifi and the 5g around the park stinks so bad
— ryan (@hoodieglasnow) February 5, 2023
It took me three times to tweet this. My rivalry with the Fenway WiFi is at an all-time high
— Molls (@mollyburkhardt) July 4, 2022
The good news is there aren’t too many complaints since 2021.
But even so, high-speed internet is important now more than ever for those placing wagers from their phones.
In addition to placing pre-game wagers on the moneyline, spread and totals, live betting is quickly rising in popularity in the sports betting community. Most sportsbooks offer real-time odds in the middle of games. Some even offer in-game prop bets on the result of a team’s next play, possession or at-bat. A smooth live betting experience is impossible without reliable Wi-Fi.
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Sports betting at Fenway Park
Red Sox fans have already started backing their team when placing their bets. The Red Sox are receiving 42% of the MLB World Series winner futures bets at BetMGM in Massachusetts, as well as 41% of World Series futures handle in the state.
Those fans are undoubtedly ready to start betting at Fenway Park.
At this time, there’s been no formal announcement on any plans for a retail sportsbook at Fenway Park. But it’s worth thinking about, since more and more teams embrace the gambling sector.
For speculation’s sake, let’s say it happens.
Who could be Fenway Park’s official sportsbook?
The obvious choice here would be BetMGM Massachusetts.
Shortly after Massachusetts legalized sports betting, the Red Sox announced a partnership with BetMGM. In the partnership, the sportsbook acquired signage at Fenway Park, including on the Green Monster.
There’s also now a BetMGM suite inside the ballpark, and various VIP fan experiences for BetMGM customers. In addition, both the sportsbook and team agreed to co-branded social media content.
It wouldn’t be the first time BetMGM had a presence inside an MLB stadium. The company opened a retail sportsbook inside the home of the Washington Nationals, Nationals Park, in January 2022.
The 4,000-square-foot BetMGM sportsbook includes 40 big-screen TVs, live odds boards and six betting windows for customers to place their bets. Bettors can also wager at a handful of betting kiosks. The hangout also features full-service dining and beverage options. It’s open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until midnight.
A hypothetical BetMGM Sportsbook at Fenway Park wouldn’t be identical, but there’s a chance it would look similar.
Could there be more in the future behind this agreement? Troup Parkinson, the Red Sox executive vice president of partnerships, spoke of “betting opportunities” when the BetMGM/Red Sox partnership was announced.
“The Boston Red Sox are proud to partner with BetMGM as we prepare to enter a new era of professional sports betting in Massachusetts,” Parkinson said in a statement. “Given our strong relationship with MGM Resorts, BetMGM was the clear choice to become the first sports betting partner of the club, and we look forward to them offering sports betting opportunities to our fans in a safe and responsible manner.”
There’s a possibility that DraftKings Massachusetts could secure rights to a ballpark sportsbook, too. DraftKings is the daily fantasy sports partner of the Red Sox, and is also the co-official sports betting partner of the MLB. It is also based in Boston.
Other sports teams with retail sportsbooks at venues
In-house sportsbooks are no stranger to professional sports, specifically in the MLB. In addition to the Nationals, the New York Mets (Caesars), Arizona Diamondbacks (Caesars) and Chicago Cubs (DraftKings) all have sportsbooks in their stadiums.
In other sports, the Cleveland Cavaliers (Caesars), Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks (FanDuel), Arizona Cardinals (BetMGM), Phoenix Suns and Mercury (FanDuel), and Washington Wizards, Capitals and D.C. United (Caesars) are all professional sports teams that boast sportsbooks in their arenas.
That list will continue to grow as more states legalize sports betting and other professional teams announce official partnerships.
If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with gambling, call 1-800-327-5050 or visit www.mahelpline.org/problemgambling to speak with a trained specialist for free, 24/7