London to host Major League Baseball for first time

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The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are coming to London. With regular season NFL games already an annual fixture on the UK sporting calendar, Major League Baseball is now also ready to bring ‘America’s favorite pastime’ to the capital with the two iconic teams set to face off in June 2019.

One of baseball’s oldest and most fierce rivalries will play out in front of crowds at the London Stadium next year, marking the first time MLB has been played in Europe.

The match-up will be a regular season fixture that will take place over two days on the weekend of June 28-29, with the Red Sox designated as the home side for both games.

The London Stadium, which was the Olympic stadium centerpiece for the 2012 Olympic Games in the UK capital, is now the home of English Premier League soccer side West Ham United FC and will have to undergo a significant alteration to its playing surface in order to accommodate the diamond of a typical ballpark.

“As a venue, we are immensely proud to be hosting the MLB’s international series at London Stadium in 2019,” said Graham Gilmore, CEO of London Stadium185.

“The event will see London Stadium further its aims to become the most widely used stadium in Europe, having hosted Premier League football, world athletics, international and domestic rugby union and league, and the Race of Champions in 2015 and inviting some of the world’s biggest musical names to perform in concert at the venue each summer.

“Our team delivered what has been widely lauded as the best IAAF World Athletics Championships and the IPC World ParaAthletics Championships in 2017, and we have scheduled our most expansive concert series yet for the summer of 2018. We are relishing the opportunity to work with MLB for their international series next summer.

“The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox rekindling their rivalry in the UK for the very first time, at London Stadium, will provide yet another incredible sporting spectacle which the entire city can be proud of.”

With four regular season NFL games being played in the capital as part of the International Series attracting sell-out crowds at Wembley Stadium, Twickenham Stadium, and with Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium set to host games for the next 10 years, MLB is hoping for similar success.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been lobbying for MLB to come to the UK and hopes it will also become a regular fixture on the calendar for years going forward.

“Since I became mayor, I have been determined to bring baseball to our city and I am really pleased we have been able to reach what is an historic agreement. I’m committed – as is MLB – to ensure baseball has a long-term future over many years in London.”

May 9, 2018

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As editor of four magazines at UKi Media & Events James brings over a decade of writing about, and obsessing over, technology and cars to Automotive Interiors World, Stadia, Winter Sports Technology International and Auditoria. Responsible for commissioning, writing and editing each issue he’s covered the best (and worst) from around the industry on a continual search to feature the latest innovation or talking point on the next cover.

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