The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry spilled into Times Square.
The Boston travel bureau made a tongue-in-cheek pitch to woo New Yorkers to Beantown by invoking one of the most famous Bronx Bombers, Derek Jeter, on a giant billboard in the heart of the Big Apple.
“The captain loved Boston so much, he went back 144 times,” read the billboard, which was commissioned by the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Jeter, a lifelong Yankee, played a 144 games against the Red Sox at Boston’s Fenway Park during his Hall of Fame career.
Last month, Boston’s tourism bureau announced a new, record-high $7 million ad campaign that enlisted the help of a local marketing agency, Allen & Gerritsen.
The aim of the campaign was to present a kinder, gentler Boston by emphasizing its multiculturalism and diversity while moving away from widely held stereotypes that The Hub was an unwelcoming — even racist — city whose only attractions were historic sites.
“We had to retell the story. We had to show a different city,” said Dan Donahue, a member of the tourism bureau’s board, told The Boston Globe.
“People have a sense of Boston as a racist city. We had to show different. We had to be different. Boston is the definition of what America is [in terms of diversity].”
The ad in Times Square includes the campaign tagline: “Boston Never Gets Old.”
The billboard’s placement in at the Crossroads of the World comes after ESPN promoted its highly anticipated seven-part docuseries “The Captain,” based on Jeter’s Hall of Fame career, outside Fenway Park.
Randy Wilkins, who directed “The Captain,” posted an image of the billboard showing. Jeter smiling from ear to ear on his Twitter account.
“This is currently outside of Fenway Park,” Wilkins wrote. “GO YANKEES. #TheCaptain Shout out to ESPN marketing for the placement.”
During the Jeter era, the Yankees and Red Sox had their fair share of historic battles on the diamond. Jeter helped lead the Yankees to five World Series championships and had initially denied the Red Sox their first title since 1918.
But Boston broke through in 2004, beating the Bombers in the American League Championship Series after trailing three games to none. The team went on to build their own mini-dynasty, taking the title three times during Jeter’s career and added a fourth in 2018, after Jeter retired.
Despite the bad blood, Red Sox Nation knows how to appreciate a legend. Jeter was toasted by Boston fans in his last game at Fenway Park in 2014.
The Red Sox staged a pre-game tribute to Jeter, which included appearances by Boston sports greats Jim Rice, Luis Tiant, Paul Pierce and Bobby Orr. Fans at Fenway gave Jeter a standing ovation after his final at-bat — an infield single that drove in a run in the third inning.