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Who Owns The Streets? 24:59
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A stilt-walker performs outside Fenway Park before a Boston Red Sox game on April 4, 2010. (AP)
A stilt-walker performs outside Fenway Park before a Boston Red Sox game on April 4, 2010. (AP)

Yawkey Way is a public street in Boston, but for the last nine years during every Red Sox home game the street becomes an extension of Fenway Park. It's closed off and you can't enter unless you have a ticket to the game. Yawkey Way essentially becomes the private property of the Boston Red Sox, allowing the team to expand its business.

Around the corner, the Sox have cashed in on the air rights above Landsdowne Street with expensive seats on top of the green monster.

This was all made possible thanks to a deal with the Boston Redevelopment Authority and it has turned out pretty well for the Red Sox.

According to an investigation by the Initiative for Investigative Reporting at Northeastern University, the team has pocketed an extra $45 million and in return the city has made a tiny fraction of that in fees — less than $200,000 a year.

The findings raises big questions about eminent domain and the authority of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Who owns the city's streets and who gets to use them to cash in? And who is benefiting; the citizens of the city or the big business of professional baseball?

Guest:

  • Callum Borchers, from the Initiative for Investigative Report at Northeastern University
  • Andrew Zimbalist, economist, Smith College
  • Shirley Kressel, cofounder, Alliance of Boston Neighborhoods

More:

This program aired on November 7, 2011.

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