MLB Will Make London Debut Tomorrow To Packed House

June 28, 2019

The two games between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in London this weekend bring Major League Baseball’s ‘regular season’ to the UK (and Europe) for the first time.

The games sold out very rapidly and the appetite to tickets on the secondary market has been the strongest of any MLB game this season (despite higher prices)  with fans from over 40 American states and 27 different countries buying seats.

London Stadium (the former Olympic Park) has been converted into a 65,000-capacity baseball venue in just 23 days with 150 staff needed to make the change.

You can watch the transformation in this video.

The home run distance in straightaway centre is only 385 feet away, which is shorter than at any current MLB stadium, so there are likely to be several balls hit out – which will probably please the crowd.

There will be 700 volunteers on hand at the stadium to help foster an exciting atmosphere.

Another series of UK games, with rivals St. Luis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs, is planned for next year.

MLB has visited Japan and Mexico for games this season. In 2014, there were MB games at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.

Charlie Hill, MLB’s Managing Director EMEA, told BBC: “We want more people aware, playing and watching our sport.”

“How you choose to engage with baseball is up to you, whether it’s wearing a baseball cap with a team name on, picking up a bat, or watching the London Series on the television.”

The games will be streamed live on the BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website.

“Most sports have conversations about internationalising. Like soccer playing friendly games in Asia and the USA – they want to grow their footprint. When it comes to the UK and you look at what other US sports have done, inevitably you look at the NFL. But these are long-term projects. You don’t transform a marketplace overnight.”

Yankees pitcher Zack Britton commented: “It’s going to be tough to replace soccer, right? The history of soccer is there. Rugby. Cricket. Stuff like that. But hopefully the games are exciting. That’s how you draw fans in. You see something new, somebody that’s never seen baseball, and if they see some action, and they see some excitement, some good games, that’s the best way to draw some fans in, get them interested in baseball.”