Normally Red Sox fans' messages to each other go on the right-field video board, but with the baseball season on hold because of the coronavirus crisis, the team is putting the bigger video board in center field to use, and for a good cause.
Under the new plan, announced Thursday, fans can pay $50, a tax-deductible donation, for a message to be displayed on the John Hancock video board, which has never been used for fan messages before. For a $100 donation, the message will include an image, the Red Sox said in a statement.
That money will be donated to the Red Sox Foundation, which can't host its usual fundraising events, and after seven to 10 days, the fan will get a digital photo showing the message on display at Fenway Park.
“Every dollar raised through these scoreboard messages helps sustain the hundreds of Boston Public Schools students we mentor and provide scholarships to each year through our self-operated Red Sox Scholars Program," said Red Sox Foundation Executive Director Bekah Salwasser in a statement. The scoreboard messages will also enhance our ability to support other non-profits who are all struggling to fulfill their mission because of the demand for various services during this challenging time for so many in our community.”
The Red Sox are putting the messages up remotely, so it's safe for the team's staff, said Sarah McKenna, senior vice president of fan services and entertainment.
"We’re now able to safely provide fans with a way to mark a special occasion, like Mother’s Day or an upcoming graduation, during this unique period of social distancing,” she said in a statement.
On Wednesday, the Red Sox offered refunds, credit or ticket exchanges for people with tickets to certain games at the beginning of the season, which are in limbo after baseball's Opening Day was pushed back because of the virus.