The following audio interview (MP3) is with Mike Dee, the president of Fenway Sports Group. (play the interview below)
Dee was also named as Red Sox Chief Operating Officer March 7, 2004, less than 2 years after he joined the club as Executive Vice President/Business Affairs on July 15, 2002. The nine-year baseball veteran manages the club's business operations.
Below are excerpts from the interview, courtesy of Sports Business Radio
On the arrival of Daisuke Matsuzaka and the plan to promote the Red Sox brand in Japan:
"I don't think we've seen anything that rivals this in terms of fan interest and just attention. You know what we're hoping to do obviously is convert that (fan interest and attention) eventually in to business. And I say 'eventually' because you know, this was not an investment that we made with an eye on a quick hit. The longer term goal is to lay the ground work and foundation in Japan for Japanese corporations to invest in Fenway Park and invest in the Red Sox and obviously that is driven by expanding our fan base in Japan and throughout Asia."
On the impact of Daisuke Matsuzaka on Tokyo to Boston travel:
"When we announced we signed Daisuke, there weren't direct flights, believe it or not, from Tokyo to Boston. Now I know two or three airlines are in the process of adding direct flights during the baseball season. That's a clear and measurable impact of what we'll see."
On the intense media interest in Daisuke Matsuzaka:
"We think this is only the tip of the iceberg. As we get in to the season, we're expanding the press box at Fenway Park to accommodate all of the new interest. Hopefully we'll find ourselves in a playoff/postseason situation where I think we're going to have to lease space across the street to handle all of the international media that would have an interest. We're in a standing room only situation and I think we've roughly doubled the size of the press box by annexing some space that was previously back of the house space and I think we're up to 226 positions in the media area."
On the new Fenway Roush Racing venture:
"We love racing. We love the fundamentals of NASCAR. The business, the extraordinary growth that's taken place over the last decade is unparalleled. Viewership levels are second only to the NFL. We just think its a great compliment to our core business and we're excited to be in the sport.