With leagues such as the NFL and NBA attempting to expand to markets outside the United States, MLB is now trying the same by having the New York Yankees face the Boston Red Sox in London in 2019. But is this the right move?
The New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox is not just the greatest rivalry in all of baseball, but perhaps in all of sports. Even people that don’t follow baseball are aware of the feud and know of its significance in the sport.
In 2019, Major League Baseball will attempt to use this history to promote baseball in Europe when the Yankees and Red Sox square off on June 29 and 30 in London Stadium. It was also announced that Boston will be the home team for both of the games.
This idea should be seen as a stroke of genius for MLB and will not only help the sport grow, but ultimately benefit the Yankees.
Rather than send over a lackluster matchup like the NFL, MLB is giving the people of London a look into the most compelling story in all of baseball. Because of the teams involved and the historical context, the games will treated like big deals. This will help sell baseball and make the sport seem like something they should care about because, let’s face it, they should.
The current-day Yankees and Red Sox have a lot in common. They are both comprised of young superstars with incredibly high ceilings, have World Series aspirations and play in the American League East. With all of these factors in place, every game these teams play in the next few years will be must-see and have a lot riding on every game. This is the type of thing you promote if you’re attempting to capture a new market of viewers to make the league more popular again.
They’ll be watching Aaron Judge and Mookie Betts face off across the pond. Gary Sanchez and Andrew Benintendi will be introduced to London. Luis Severino and Chris Sale will take on London Stadium. Those are some exciting faces to witness on the other side of the world.
In addition to all of the positives these games will provide to the sport as a whole, the Yankees have a lot to gain from these games. With Boston being the home team, that means there are two less times the Yankees have to travel to Fenway Park and fight the hostile crowd that will be waiting there for them. The games in London will give the Yankees an edge in the long run and could make the race for the division in 2019 a bit easier.
Fans of baseball as a whole, Yankees fans in particular, should be excited for the series being held in London in 2019. Baseball fans in general should like the prospect of the game’s expansion while Yankee fans should be happy for the advantage of Boston. While there is still a full season to be played before this series, it is definitely something to eventually look forward to.