What at first appeared to be a simple inquiry on the golf course about promoting UMass football through its Gridiron Club to the Fenway Sports Group, turned out getting this year’s Woburn-Winchester game to be played at Fenway Park.
Winchester’s Paul Manganaro was playing in the UMass Gridiron Club Golf Classic at Pinehills Golf Club in Plymouth back on July 26 when he heard there were individual members of the Fenway Group playing in the group behind his. He was hoping to speak to someone in the Fenway Group to help promote the UMass program.
“I happen to speak with Brett Miller who told me he was in charge of concerts, the Fenway Bowl (new this year) and high school games,” said Manganaro. “And when he said ‘high school games,’ I said ‘oh, I’ve got a rivalry for you which is one of the best in the state.’ Things began to blossom very quickly.”
Manganaro is no stranger to helping make things happen in regard to Winchester High football. Beginning as a tri-captain and outstanding two-way lineman for the 1981 Middlesex League champs at Winchester High, Manganaro later became an assistant coach with the then-Sachems (1990-2005).
After a head coaching change at Winchester, Manganaro then organized and became president and head coach of Sachem Youth Football (grades 6-8) from 2006 to the present.
He also played a big role in getting lights at Knowlton Stadum as president of the Winchester field development council. The entity that raised funds that successfully helped in the renovation of Knowlton Stadium and the Manchester Field track complex. This was a joint private and public effort . The Knowlton Stadium lights were donated with 100% private funds raised by the Winchester field development council. Miller is the Senior Manager, Special Events Director of Fenway Sports Management, Fenway Sports Group’s sales, marketing and special events wing.
By the end of August things were worked out to make this year’s 120th meeting between Woburn and Winchester to be played on Wednesday, Nov. 24 at Fenway Park. Kickoff is in the “premium” time slot of 6:30 p.m.
However, the official announcement was delayed until recently. The Fenway Group had to finalize the specific day/time slots because it was still working to secure the remainder of the games and needed to (mostly as a formality) get executive approval on all of the games.
Fenway Park is scheduled to host four games during Thanksgiving Week with two being played on Tuesday (Nov. 23) and two on Wednesday (Nov. 24). The Woburn-Winchester game is the “highlighted game” of the two that Wednesday.
Manganaro also indicated there will be a pre-game gathering for all fans at “Game On” at 82 Lansdowne St. starting at 4 p.m.
Tickets for the game will range from $20-$40 with luxury suites available. Tickets will be on sale soon and may be purchased through the Fenway site.
While the cost of tickets are a bit higher than the usual $8-12 ticket prices if the game was played locally, there are some costs at Fenway Park to cover such as the concessions, lights and security. Still, 25-percent of ticket sales will be donated back by the Fenway Group and split between both schools.
“This is a great and unique opportunity for both communities and a great, great memorable experience for the current teams,” said Manganaro.
Fenway Sports Management is not involved with the baseball operations but organizes other events at the ballpark.