Last year on March 29, 2011, the Boston Red Sox announced that JetBlue Airways Corp. was being given the naming rights for their stadium at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. One of those who heard this announcement on the evening news was Fort Myers resident Eric Engelman.
So the next day Engelman bought jetbluepark.com for $8 on GoDaddy.com. Note that the stadium hadn’t been officially named when he bought the domain.
Normally this wouldn’t be a big story by itself. The funny part is that Engelman redirected the jetbluepark.com to the Yankees’ home page. Now this would be cause enough for an all-out war of words in the media if it had been done by a Yankees fan.
But Engelman says he’s more of a Cubs fan and has nothing against the Red Sox and nothing much in favor of the Yankees. Since he bought the domain before the stadium was named and he is not benefiting in any way, there’s not much of a case for cyber-squatting either.
The sum of it is that Red Sox business executives have egg all over their faces while the Yankees are getting a whole lot of pleasure out of the kerfuffle with no downside since neither they nor their fans are responsible for the purchase or redirection.
Now only two question need to be answered. Why didn’t the Red Sox buy the domain in the first place, and what are they going to do about it now?
As for the first question, they seem to be absolutely clueless about the value of domains. Sam Kennedy, executive vice president and COO of the Boston Red Sox, didn’t even know about the redirection until it was pointed out to him by the media after the story went viral. JetbluePark.net is also taken, by a real estate company in Naples, FL. It is obvious that the Red Sox management didn’t even realize that they should have got hold of these domains before naming the park.
The answer to the second question is more complicated, because Engelman is not really a squatter, has not made any money off it and it was all a joke – in good taste too. The only way the Red Sox or the MLB can get hold of it now is to be nice to Engelman and request him to hand it over, or make him an offer he can’t refuse.