Close this search box.

Log in

Top Stories

The Boston Red Sox hired a new general manager to oversee the year-round presence of the Fenway South sports complex, which for six weeks each year serves as the team’s spring training home off Daniels Parkway in Fort Myers.

Shawn Smith, most recently a business consultant to the team, spent nine years working for late NBA Commissioner David Stern in the league’s corporate office and more than a decade overseeing the Lowell Spinners, a minor league affiliate of the Red Sox.

Now, Smith will be tasked with bringing more year-round events to JetBlue Park and the surrounding sports complex that has hosted rock concerts, amateur baseball tournaments and other events since replacing City of Palms Park as the team’s preseason home in 2012.

“We had a circus here last week,” Smith said. “We had an art show a couple of weeks ago. We do have a classic car show and concert that’s coming up here in April. We have a couple of other things in the works that I don’t want to divulge yet, because we don’t want to announce things until they are finalized.”

Smith also sought to spotlight the Red Sox efforts in Hurricane Ian recovery. The club and the Minnesota Twins, who also call Fort Myers home for spring training, made matching $100,000 donations to Lee County nonprofit organizations. Both teams have had employees involved in ongoing beach cleanup efforts.

Smith is also making sure the complex is ready for spring training with Red Sox pitchers and catchers reporting Feb. 13.

“Deep at my heart, I’m a baseball person,” the Purdue and Syracuse universities graduate said. “A baseball guy. Understanding both sides of the game, the business side and the baseball side.

“We’re all in this together to help bring a 10th world championship to the Boston Red Sox organization.”

The relationship between the Red Sox and Lee County government is a symbiotic one. A portion of hotel bed tax dollars collected by the county go toward paying for the Fenway South sports complex.

Part of Smith’s job will be promoting spring training and other events to keep an influx of tourists in a market that is still down about 33% of its hotel rooms due to Hurricane Ian damage.

“We’re letting visitors and tourists know that Southwest Florida is alive and well,” Smith said. “These ongoing efforts are going to continue, especially on the beach area.

“It’s important we understand our role and working with our media and to the national media to convey to the people — snowbirds — to come down and continue to enjoy time here and bring more dollars and bring more love back to this area.

“It is important for us to be able to utilize this property in a multifaceted way to bring in tourism dollars for the community. Try to create some events where we put heads in beds to create some additional dollars for our hotels. And create something that adds to the lifestyle and enjoyment, not only for the residents of Lee County but for the visitors to Lee County.”

Copyright 2024 Gulfshore Life Media, LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent.

Don't Miss

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Please note that article corrections should be submitted for grammar or syntax issues.

If you have other concerns about the content of this article, please submit a news tip.