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  • Writer's pictureMatt Fiedler

Fenway Park - Wasabi Fenway Bowl

Photos by Matt Fiedler, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

Fenway Park 4 Jersey St. Boston, MA 02215

Year Opened: 1912

Capacity: 37,731


Worth the Wait?

When you think of Fenway Park you picture legends like Ted Williams, Carlton Fisk, Pedro Martinez, and David Ortiz dazzling fans with their heroics on the diamond. What you don’t think of is kickoffs, first downs, and marching bands. However, Fenway Park finally played host to the Wasabi Fenway Bowl in the 2022-2023 bowl season. This bowl was originally set to debut in 2020 but COVID forced postponements in both the 2020-2021 bowl season and the 2021-2022 bowl season.

Football at Fenway actually dates back to 1916 when Holy Cross & Boston College squared off. There was even a professional team, the Boston Patriots of the AFL, who called Fenway Park home. Though Fenway had hosted football games in the past, the inaugural Wasabi Fenway Bowl between Cincinnati and Louisville was the first time Fenway Park played host to a bowl game. In the end, it was a mixed bag of an experience that had some high points but also some low points.

Food & Beverage 4

The food offerings at the Fenway Bowl were a bit different than those you would find at a typical Red Sox game. Normally Fenway Park’s food experience is enhanced by the numerous vendors located right outside of the gates on Jersey Street. However, those vendors were not present for the Fenway Bowl. That doesn’t mean there was a lack of options inside the ballpark though. All of the usual stadium fare can be found at Fenway. Fans can snack on sausages, popcorn, candy, and pretzels among other ballpark staples. Pizza, chicken tenders, and even lobster rolls can also be found around the park along with the famous Fenway Frank.

If you’re looking for a Pepsi you won’t find one at Fenway as they carry only Coca Cola soft drinks. What you can find though is a plethora of craft beer options alongside the requisite New England staple, Sam Adams. Unsurprisingly, the prices for food & beverages at Fenway is not cheap. For example, a 16oz Truly Hard Seltzer will run you $11.50, a 20oz water costs $4.75, and peanuts cost $5.75.

Atmosphere 5

This is truly a unique experience for a bowl game. Watching college football at Fenway Park is a sight to behold. The cold New England air, the green monster in the background, Sweet Caroline, and the aura of Fenway all combine to make for a memorable experience. There’s history everywhere you look at Fenway. Look towards the right field bleachers and you’ll see the retired numbers of legends like David Ortiz, Ted Williams, Carlton Fisk, and Yaz. Take a look at the green monster and you’re reminded of Fisk’s homerun in game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Seeing the players come up and out of the dugout for pregame introductions is really cool and the marching bands also provide a great element of both music and choreography. The pageantry of college football combined with the history of Fenway Park just makes for a really memorable atmosphere and experience that fans will enjoy.

Neighborhood 5

Fenway Park is located in a great neighborhood. There are numerous dining options within walking distance. If you’d like to check out some uniquely Boston locales try the Cask ‘N Flagon, The Bleacher Bar, or Fenway Johnnies. If you’re looking for variety stop at Timeout Market where you can find a rotating group of eating establishments. You can find pizza, burgers, Asian cuisine, and much more. There are also numerous coffee shops, fast food, and fast casual spots for fans looking to grab a quick bite outside of the park.

If you’re looking to catch some music there are also some great options. The House of Blues and the new MGM Music Hall at Fenway are perfect spots to check out. If you’re traveling with young kids then the Boston Children’s Museum is a fun time for the whole family.

Fans 2

The deck was stacked against the fans for this bowl game no matter who was involved outside of Boston College or UCONN. College football isn’t nearly as big of a deal in New England as it is in other parts of the country. The passion and intensity is geared fully towards the pro teams in New England. Add in the fact that most of the time the teams aren’t local to New England it’s tough to get a strong attendance number.

There were of course still loyal fans of both schools at the game and they did try to enhance the atmosphere as much as they could but in the end it was definitely not a rowdy event. You definitely don’t have to worry about getting heckled or being mistreated for wearing the wrong colors.

Access 3

There are some really easy ways to get to Fenway and there are some really frustratingly hard ways to get to Fenway. The easiest and simplest method is to take public transportation. There’s a commuter rail stop right outside of Fenway Park. If you’re coming from Western MA just take the Worcester-Framingham line to Lansdowne. Fenway Park is a stones throw away from the station. There’s also the Providence/Stoughton line which drops you off near Northeastern University. If taking the T, your best bet is to take is the green line.

If you plan to drive to Fenway Park be warned that the parking/traffic situation can be an absolute nightmare. This bowl game will always be played around Christmastime when people are out shopping and traffic is at its worst. There are lots close to the park but they fill up fast and aren’t cheap. Save yourself the headache and take the train.

Once inside, Fenway is fairly easy to navigate. The concourses are wide enough to accommodate the bowl game crowd and fans should have no problems with congestion. As far as preferred sightline, for the Fenway Bowl we would recommend the State Street Pavilion as it gives you a birds eye view of the action.

Return on Investment 3

Bowl games in general are a tough event to determine a true return on investment. The quality of football will be a mixed bag depending on which teams are picked for the game. There’s also the fact that a lot of high quality players sit out bowl games if they’re entering the NFL draft. What doesn’t change year to year though is the backdrop and Fenway is an awesome place to see a football game. Another thing that won’t change is the price for food and parking. Those prices will always remain high unfortunately. Tickets should be fairly easy to come by though unless BC or UCONN ends up playing in this game in the future. Overall, if you find seats with a good sightline and have a blanket or two you should be able to have an enjoyable time. If nothing else, you can tell your friends that you saw football played at Fenway Park.

Extras 3

One star has to go to the history of Fenway Park. The history is visible everywhere you look. If you’ve never been to Fenway Park before it is definitely worthwhile to take a stroll through the park to visit some of the memorable sites of which there are many.

A second star goes to the great food scene in and around Fenway Park. There’s something for every taste and appetite in the Fenway neighborhood. There are plenty of chain restaurants and mom and pop establishments.

A final star goes to the marching bands. If you’ve never seen a Division One marching band at a college football game, you are in for a real treat. The synchronized motions that flow perfectly with the music is a sight to behold and adds a real flair to the game.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to like about the Wasabi Fenway Bowl. The backdrop is incredible, the food is top notch, and seeing college football in downtown Boston is just fun overall. However, there are a lot of variables with any bowl game but particularly one in New England. It’s going to be cold, the attendance typically won’t be high unless a local team is included, and some of the players will opt out due to the NFL draft. In the end it’s a cool event that is worth checking out at least once.

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