WHRB Sports Special Feature - An Interview with Colin Burch, Vice President of Marketing and Broadcasting for the Boston Red Sox


Your host, Brandon Wachs, had the opportunity before the 2017 baseball season to speak with Colin Burch of the Boston Red Sox. Colin is currently the Vice President of Marketing and Broadcasting for the Boston Red Sox. The duo chats of Colin's professional journey from an intern for the Red Sox, to planning the World Series parade tour in different cities around New England, to working on Fever Pitch, and then his current work with marketing and broadcasting. It is enlightening to hear about the Red Sox desire to grow their brand outside of Boston and into the New England area and the work Colin did to spearhead that effort. The duo speaks of making the towns around Boston feel just as connected to the Red Sox as local Bostonians are. It turned out that breaking the curse in 2004 played not only a considerable role in helping this effort but also in sparking Colin's career. The conversation then shifts to the current work Colin is doing and how the television and media landscape is changing for baseball. Colin speaks to having Red Sox baseball become part of fans daily routines and using the number of games to their advantage in engaging fans into the Red Sox community.

The interview then focuses on a more general level about baseball. Colin shares his expertise on the different ways baseball is consumed and the pace of play of the sport. Brandon poses the issue of length of games that television viewers find in conjunction with the enjoyed leisurely pace of play that fans in attendance at the games report. Colin acknowledges the concern of distractions when at home versus when being at a game. He states that the downtime at games is not as bad because the fan is taking in the ballpark and the experience, while the viewer at home has to sit through commercials which are apparently not very enjoyable. The pair then discusses the proposition of adding a pitch clock to baseball to speed up the game. Colin lends his expertise by stating that he is in favor of the pitch clock as a means to break up some of the routines in baseball that slow the game down for no reason. He uses Chris Sale as an example of a pitcher that makes the game more enjoyable because of how efficiently and quickly he works. Overall Colin concludes that pitch clocks and speeding up certain aspects of the game is okay as long as it doesn't interfere with the integrity of baseball.

Next, your host asks Colin about his involvement with and the Red Sox success with marketing their young players via social media. Colin speaks to amplifying the fun the group of young players is having and making sure fans can feel that fun. He points to the "Win, Dance, Repeat" trend that took over the Red Sox in their outfield last season. He also talks about the "Get Beard Campaign" and "Dollar Beard Night" that were used in the past. The goal of social media being to get fans to connect with what is going on on the field and enjoy it. With a core of Benintendi, Betts, and Bradley Jr. the future looks very bright both on the field and on the marketing players end for the Red Sox. The conversation turns to the Red Sox 9's program which helps students go to a game for just nine dollars. Colin Burch states the importance of campaigns such as the Red Sox 9's program to grow their fan base to students in the area that may find it difficult to attend a game otherwise. Furthermore, it makes going to a game more affordable to college students that otherwise would not think of going to see their favorite team play. More information about this program can be found here.

The interview moves onto a discussion on the non-baseball events that take place at Fenway Park and how they help provide opportunities to highlight the versatility of historic Fenway Park. From hurling matches to soccer games, to hockey games, and college football, Colin points out how these type of events solidify Fenway Park as a community center in Boston.

Finally, the interview concludes with advice that Colin would have for young people and college students looking to work in the baseball industry. He points to the importance of analytics across the board in the baseball industry and also the importance of persistence. He speaks to his own experience of trying for two years to get an internship within the industry and finding work with the Red Sox after being unsuccessful in finding an opening with the Padres. Colin leaves us with his predictions for the AL East would turn out in the 2017 season.

Show Highlights:

- Colin's professional journey to Vice President of Marketing and Broadcasting for the Boston Red Sox.

- What it was like to be with the Red Sox when the curse was broken.

- Interaction with Hollywood because of Fenway's popularity in movies.

- Discussion on Pace of Play in baseball and the trends in fan involvement with the sport.

- How the Red Sox leverage media to engage their fans and market their star athletes.

- Learning about the Red Sox 9's program.

- Colin's advice for young people looking to work in baseball.

Brandon Wachs is a WHRB Sports Special Feature Host and the Sports Director for WHRB.

Please check in periodically to WHRB for more of our special features, as we bring you in-depth interviews and conversations from the Harvard and Boston communities, as well as from around the greater sports world. We encourage you to follow WHRB on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date with our content and to join the WHRB Sports community. Also, tune into Sunday Sports Talk every Sunday from 1-2 PM to get your recap of the week that was in Harvard Sports and the wide world of sports.

WHRB Sports would like to thank Colin Burch for taking the time to speak with us for this interview.