Major League Baseball’s MLB London Series will be reprised next year with a two-game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs.
MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have set June 24-25, 2023, as the dates for the games. The 2023 London Series will mark a return to the baseball-configured London Stadium following the inaugural event that was held on June 29-30, 2019 between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The two-games at London Stadium were the first-ever regular season games played in Europe.
The Cubs and Cardinals were set to feature in the 2020 London Series, only for the event to be called off due to COVID-19. Both teams have previously played regular season games on the international stage.
In 2000, the Cubs travelled to Tokyo, Japan to open the season with two games against the New York Mets, and in 2003, played a three-game series against the Montreal Expos in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 2019, the Cardinals took on the Cincinnati Reds in a two-game series in Monterrey, Mexico.
“The Cardinals-Cubs rivalry is one of the best in sports, and it will be exciting to bring it to Europe for a new audience to experience,” said William O. DeWitt Jr., Cardinals chairman and CEO. “I have no doubt that the passionate sports fans in London will love these games and we look forward to creating some new Cardinals fans overseas.”
Cubs executive chairman, Tom Ricketts, added: “The MLB London Series between the Cubs and Cardinals has been in the works for years now and we’re thrilled to finally be able to bring one of baseball’s biggest rivalries to fans abroad in 2023. We hope that this series not only excites and entertains but brings more international sports fans to the game we all love.”
The 2023 London Series will form part of the MLB World Tour, a slate of games that will bring teams and players to the league’s global fan base.
The World Tour represents MLB and the MLBPA’s largest ever international play plan featuring up to 24 regular season games and up to 16 exhibition games to be played in Asia, Mexico and Latin America, and Europe through the 2026 season. It has been made possible through March’s agreement of a new labour deal between the League and the players’ union.
London Stadium was lined up to host more regular-season MLB games in the coming years as part of a new long-term strategic partnership agreed between the city and the League in May. The agreement includes a commitment from the League to hold major events in London over the next five years.
The partnership will see London Stadium, home of Premier League football club West Ham United, host regular-season games in 2023, 2024 and 2026.
London Stadium’s two MLB games in the summer of 2019 attracted a total of 120,000 fans in attendance across two days. The series provided a boost worth nearly £37m (€43.9m/$44.9m) to the London economy, according to a YouGov event impact study.
Graham Gilmore, CEO of London Stadium, said: “We are immensely proud to host Major League Baseball back at London Stadium, after the hugely popular London Series in 2019. This commitment will allow us to support the aim of MLB to grow the game in the UK for years to come, while demonstrating the versatility of our magnificent venue.”
The CSM Sport & Entertainment (CSM) agency has been re-appointed to support MLB in bringing regular season games back to London in 2023, 2024 and 2026.
Building on the success of 2019, CSM will once again be responsible for event marketing, ticket strategy and sales, hospitality product development and sales, strategic planning and production of venue operations, player transportation, sports presentation and the wider fan experience on game days.
Image: CSM Sport & Entertainment