London Stadium has set its sights on becoming the most widely used stadium in Europe after Major League Baseball confirmed today (Tuesday) that the venue will host two regular-season games between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in June 2019.
The two teams will meet for a double header of games on June 28-29 next year in what will mark MLB’s debut in Europe. MLB has signed a two-year deal with London Stadium to stage games at the venue in 2019 and 2020.
The league has staged regular-season games in Mexico, Japan, Australia and Puerto Rico in the past but has never travelled to Europe. Next year’s London Series will also mark the first meeting of the Yankees and the Red Sox outside of the US. The Red Sox will serve as the home team for both fixtures.
MLB commissioner Robert Manfred added: “Major League Baseball is excited to be bringing one of the most storied rivalries in sports to the passionate fans of London. In our ongoing efforts to grow baseball, there is nothing as impactful as bringing live games and our talented players to fans. This is our most significant endeavour ever in Europe and we look forward to showcasing Major League Baseball in one of the world’s great cities.”
London Stadium was built for the 2012 summer Olympic Games and now primarily serves as the home of Premier League football club West Ham United. It also hosted last year’s World Athletics Championships. The stadium is expected to have a capacity of 55,000 for the two MLB games.
Graham Gilmore, chief executive of London Stadium 185, which operates the venue, said: “As a venue, we are immensely proud to be hosting the MLB’s international series at London Stadium in 2019.
“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, 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 Para Athletics 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. We look forward to welcoming the MLB, teams and fans to London Stadium for the first year of what we hope to be a fruitful, long term partnership.”
Image: Simon Q