Harvard-Yale Venue Change Concerns Some Students

Fenway Park
Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, will host the 135th Harvard-Yale game next year.
Just over a week after Harvard students returned from the 134th annual Harvard-Yale football game, many were surprised to learn that next year’s showdown will not be at Harvard Stadium.

While some students say they’re excited by the move to Fenway Park—a measure taken to accommodate planned renovations to Harvard Stadium—others expressed concern about transportation, tailgating venues, changes to a longstanding tradition, and potentially lower student attendance.

James Lee ’21, who as a lineman on the Varsity football team could be taking the field at Fenway against the Bulldogs, welcomed the change.

“In my opinion, I think it will be better,” Lee said. “It’s that new excitement of going to a new place.”

Other students were less emphatic.

“I’m conflicted,” said Isabelle DeSisto ’20. “On the one hand, I really love Fenway Park. I think the atmosphere is awesome. I think it’s really cool that they have this opportunity. On the other hand, I think it will be logistically difficult.”

Other students also raised concerns about hosting the game so far away from Cambridge. Sophie B. Khorasani ’21 said the need for shuttles to the stadium—currently a necessity at the Yale Bowl, but not at Harvard Stadium—could complicate gameday.

“I think if they do a shuttle service then that might be sort of difficult because Boston might be busier than New Haven,” Khorasani said. “It's not the easiest thing to get into Boston.”

DeSisto said she worries that the extra travel time might depress attendance.

“The fact that it will be that much farther than over the river...means a lot more students won’t go,” she said.

James Allan ’21 also said Harvard Stadium’s “more local and more familiar” feel could deter some.

“But I think we’ll still get a good turnout at Fenway.” he said.

Matthew S. Miller ’21 worried that moving The Game from Harvard Stadium or the Yale Bowl for the first time since 1912 will undermine the match-up’s sense of tradition.

“I think this is the first time since the early 1900s that it hasn't been played at the school’s field and it is nice to have the stadium where the game is played so close to campus,” he said. “But at the same time it does bring some flair to it.”

Students also expressed concern that the move could take away from gameday festivities like tailgating. Typically, students and alumni eat and drink outside the stadium prior to kickoff. Heightened security at the Yale Bowl for this year’s game drew criticism from some for impeding House tailgates.

Emma L. Humphrey ’21 said “it doesn’t make a ton of sense” to tailgate at Fenway, which is located in a crowded part of Boston.

Allan said he is taking an optimistic, “glass half full” approach, though, saying he hoped the Crimson could break their two-year losing streak at Fenway.

“It will be a cool atmosphere, a once in a lifetime opportunity, and, who knows, maybe Harvard will come out with some surprises,” he said.

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