Two MLB powerhouses, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, may soon be playing for the support of a brand new audience in a land far away.
— Bloomberg (@business) March 19, 2018
The games would be played at London Stadium, the primary facility used in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
As a baseball fan, I think this is a fantastic idea. It’s no secret the game of baseball doesn’t have the same presence in Europe as it does in many Latin American and Asian countries.
If you need evidence of that look no further than team performances at the World Baseball Classic last year. According to the World Baseball Softball Confederation, the only two European teams to be ranked in the top 15 following the World Baseball Classic are the Netherlands and Italy.
In support of the London Games, the NBA and the NFL have both seen growth in the European fandom. Considering how connected the world is now through social media, the game of baseball definitely has room to grow. Bringing in new fans from a relatively untapped market benefits everybody.
It’s also understandable that the league would push the Yankees and the Red Sox to be the teams that play in London. Both teams are at the dawn of years of success, both teams are from major east coast cities, making travel vastly less difficult, and the greatest rivalry in all of sports is about to come back in full force.
The potential for growing excitement and effectively marketing the game could not possibly be higher. This is the absolute best way for the league to capitalize on growth in a region where baseball hasn’t thrived.
But as a Yankees fan, I am absolutely not on board. I don’t want to lose two rivalry games to Europe! What if the time change means the games are starting in the middle of the night? I’m obviously going to stay up to watch them but that likely means I’ll be completely forfeiting two nights of sleep. What if the games aren’t even televised in America? How will I let all the Red Sox fans I know how inferior their team is?
It honestly just seems a little selfish by Major League Baseball to take advantage of such an incredible time to be a baseball fan from the cities of New York and Boston. But sure, Rob Manfred, go right ahead and give Europe two of most important games of every season. I guess if it helps more people understand what makes baseball such an incredible sport, I’ll find a way to survive.