New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox baseball series set for London
In June next year the London Stadium could host MLB’s first regular-season matches in Europe
Major League Baseball (MLB) could follow the NFL and NBA by hosting regular-season matches in London.
There are plans for the New York Yankees to take on the Boston Red Sox in two MLB matches at the London Stadium in June 2019.
According to the Daily Mail, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been in discussions with MLB and is “particularly keen” to bring baseball to the UK capital next year. A spokesperson for the mayor told the Mail: “The mayor remains determined to bring Major League Baseball to London and talks are ongoing with the organisers.”
The London Stadium, home to Premier League club West Ham and the 2012 Olympic Games, is the most likely venue because its pitch “can best accommodate the dimensions of a baseball field”, the Mail says.
June is the preferred month because the Premier League season is over. The Mail understands that any potential MLB series would “not affect proposals to stage the 2019 Cricket World Cup” or clash with summer athletics events.
Details for the London matches still need to be “ironed out”, Bloomberg reports, but the Yankees and Red Sox are near to an agreement.
The NFL and NBA have been holding matches in London for a number of years, with games regularly selling out. MLB matches have previously been played in Mexico and Japan, nations that have a baseball culture, but the London series would reach a new audience.
MLB hopes that its first matches in Europe can help the sport grow internationally. Yankees manager Aaron Boone also hopes that some high-profile fans will be in attendance if the games are played at the London Stadium.
Boone told the New York Times: “It’s a shorter trip than to California, right? Let’s get the Royal Family out there. Maybe the Queen can make an appearance.”
Writing in the Boston Herald, Michael Silverman says that hosting Yankees vs. Red Sox matches in London is a “smart move” by MLB.
“Ever since a London series became likely, once the latest collective bargaining agreement was hammered out a couple of years ago, the Red Sox and Yankees have each been clamouring for that first invitation” said Silverman.
“It’s a natural fit, especially for the Red Sox, [who are] owned by Fenway Sports Group that also owns Liverpool FC. And the Yankees see themselves as belonging in London as well.”