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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A new door for MLB in Europe?


The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees will play a historic two-game series in London, the capital of England, on June 29 and 30, 2019, on what will be the first major league visit of the United States to the old continent, the commissioner's office (MLB), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and the Mayor of London jointly announced Tuesday.

The two matches will be played at the Olympic Stadium, the main venue for the 2012 Olympic Games, which will have a baseball configuration for the event. The estimated capacity of the London Stadium for the series will be of 55,000 fans. The parties involved in the agreement announced that there is an agreement for MLB to return to London by 2020, but it has not yet been determined what the teams will be. "The major leagues are thrilled to bring one of the most legendary sports rivalries to the passionate fans of London, and in our ongoing efforts to grow baseball, there is nothing so shocking as bringing live games and our talented players to the fans," said Rob Manfred, MLB commissioner, in a document sent to the press, as published by ESPN.

"This is our most important effort in Europe and we hope to show the Major Leagues in one of the biggest cities in the world," added Manfred. "Some of the most talented and dynamic players in the world will play in these games, they are excited about the chance to meet new fans and show the game they love, they know they will be part of the story, but they also know that these games count," said Tony Clark, executive director of the players union.

For his part, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that "I am absolutely delighted that we have secured this landmark agreement for Major League Baseball to come to London in 2019 and 2020”. "All the hard work has paid off - there is no better way to start the London Series and the first MLB game in Europe than a confrontation between two heavyweights of international sport: the New York Yankees and the Red Sox from Boston," Khan said. "This is a great blow that demonstrates, once again, that London is the sports capital of the world and I am excited about a new partnership with MLB and the long-term future of this sport in our big city."

As stated by ESPN, MLB has made official matches in Australia, Japan, Mexico and Puerto Rico - including season series of 2018 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Monterrey, Mexico - and plans to start the 2019 season with two matches between the Mariners of Seattle and Oakland Athletics in Tokyo, but it had never ventured to Europe, where professional basketball leagues (NBA) and American Football (NFL) have played for a long time.