The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are closing in on an agreement to play a two-game series in London in June 2019, according to Bloomberg’s Janet Perkins and Scott Soshnick.
Reportedly the games will be held at London Stadium, which played host to several events at the 2012 Summer Olympics, if a deal is made official.
The stadium can hold up to 65,000 fans for sporting events and if a deal is made official it will continue MLB’s trend of playing regular season games in other countries such as Japan, Mexico, Australia and Puerto Rico over the years.
The Yankees and Red Sox are easily among the top MLB franchises in terms of global recognition and their storied rivalry and rosters of elite players will be an easy draw for the series as MLB looks to penetrate the European market.
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“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make,” Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.
Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics. MLB has not played any games in Europe before, however, the Red Sox have played overseas in the past, including to Japan before the 2008 season.
“It’s a shorter trip than to California, right?” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone, who has never been to London, commented. “Let’s get the royal family out there. Maybe the queen can make an appearance.”
“It’s following the leader — the N.F.L.,” said Allen Adamson, a branding expert and an adjunct professor at N.Y.U. “It’s good for the Yankees, it’s good for Boston, and an attempt to inject some topspin into the sport, but I don’t think it mitigates the need to revitalize baseball in the United States.”
Adamson added: “It would be more interesting to play in Havana.”
The Yankees are in a business partnership with Manchester City F.C, so they are very familiar with the European sports landscape and the audience, and fans, that attend events across the pond.
MLB is trying to follow in the NFL’s footsteps, as both are chasing the NBA who have spearheaded the efforts to globalize their game.