WORCESTER, Mass. - The Worcester Red Sox are wrapping up their third season in the city and many local business owners said this summer was their best since the team moved in next door.

What You Need To Know

  • The Worcester Red Sox wrapped up their final homestand of 2023 on Sunday, marking the end of their third season in Worcester

  • Business owners in the Canal District said they're noticing an increase in business on game days as well as some customers who return when the WooSox aren't playing

  • The Canal District currently has multiple construction projects in the works to continue the development around Polar Park in the coming years

  • The WooSox said they've seen increase in the amount of tickets sold for the third straight year 

“I think year three was a very successful year for the WooSox and for my business and I think for the businesses around me," said Eddie Cazares, owner of El Patron on Harding Street.

Cazares said his restaurant has seen it all in the first three years of having the WooSox as neighbors.

“The first year was definitely a struggle with the parking situation," Cazares said. "The second year, it was kind of in between for us. And then just this season it was great.”

“When they first came, people were a little stunned that business was down on game days; this was originally," said Allen Fletcher, president of the Worcester Public Market. "I think now, here at the market in particular, we've had a good year and there's no question that the ballpark benefits us.”

Fletcher said having the WooSox in town has been interesting and it’s turning out to be a net positive for the Canal District.

“I think in the district as a whole it's tougher for standalone venues, you know, for a standalone restaurant," Fletcher said. "However, it's not that bad. And there is a point of view that, in fact, that the WooSox fans, the people who come to the games, especially from out of town, actually get acquainted with the area and come back.”

Fletcher and Cazares said along with an increase in business, both on game days and on off days, the team is working to build relationships with local businesses.

“One of the things that really helps out with the WooSox is that we do a lot of catering for them," Cazares said. "So, they bring in that business for us where we cook for the whole team, for their staff. And it's always a pleasure to do big catering orders for them. And we just maintain a really close and good relationship with them.”

“It's just been an incredible ride already with three, it’s hard to believe we've had over 1.5 million people almost come to the ballpark in these three years," Worcester Red Sox communications vice president Bill Wanless said. "And we just appreciate the support we've gotten from the fans, greatest fans and minor league baseball.”

Along with attracting fans to Worcester, Bill Wanless said the WooSox Rewards program, new this year, has close to 20,000 members. The fan loyalty program gives people reward points on certain deals at more than a dozen Canal District businesses.

Looking ahead, Wanless said the organization wants to support the growth of the district, which is adding about 1,000 units of housing in the coming years.

“It's really growing right before our eyes," Wanless said. "The proof is in the pudding, what you see here. And it's been tremendous and it's going to continue to grow. We'll grow with it, and we'll support everybody that's here along the way.”

“I think they're making a genuine effort to sort of be a positive part of that part of the neighborhood," Fletcher said. "I'm the guy who's been living here for 20 years and I remember when it was a ghost town. It ain't a ghost town, you know, people are on the street and it's in general very exciting.”