Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees for a London series?
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees may be playing an in season series in London. The series would be played in 2018 at London Stadium.
Major league teams splitting up the schedule or playing elsewhere than either home field is not unusual. A few years back the Boston Red Sox opened the season in Japan with a split of a two-game series against the Oakland Athletics. The Red Sox were the defending world champions and in the first game Japanese native Hideki Okajima picked up the win in a ten inning contest.
The Red Sox also participated in two exhibition games against Japanese teams – the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants. Boston won both games before moving on to the two games against the A’s. The Yankees also have a previous history by opening the 2004 season with a pair of games against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Tokyo Dome.
Now the Red Sox and Yankees are contemplating games in London, which has a yearly National Football League regular season contest. The discussion is ongoing and the target date may be as early as the 2018 season. Just when the games will be played is undetermined, but where is not.
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The planned venue is London Stadium, which served as the home stadium for the 2012 Olympics. The stadium is host to a variety of events from concerts to the ever important football (soccer contests). For football the capacity is 60,000 and that allows the entire surface area to be available.
The Stadium also has another ingredient so important in the sports business of today – 16 executive boxes and 3,600 corporate seats. The Stadium is a magnificent structure that – like virtually all Olympic stadiums – had a nice cost overrun, but a Red Sox – Yankee matchup would certainly provide an intriguing destination trip for fans of both teams.
How the field will be configured will certainly be of interest. The surface area is large, but the dimensions are more suitable for soccer and track and field. Visions of the Los Angeles Coliseum and a 251’ left field certainly come up. Coincidentally the Red Sox played an exhibition game in 2008 to celebrate the Dodgers 50th anniversary out west. The game set a baseball attendance record at 115,000.
The Red Sox connection extends beyond just this potential encounter, as principal owner John Henry and his Fenway Sports Group also own Liverpool F.C. which is one of the most notable names in professional soccer. Maybe Roush racing can get involved? Just a thought.
London was also noted as the final stop on the Grand Tour of 13 countries by the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox. The trip was formulated by two baseball legends – John McGraw and Charles Comiskey. The final game was in Chelsea Stadium and 20,000 spectators included King George V.
MLB is active in professional baseball worldwide. The latest list I could find listed players from 23 countries that comprised almost one-third of all players on the rosters of MLB teams. That translates to potential fan interest and interest means revenue.
The talent pool is certainly expanding and games in Mexico have taken place along with Japan and Australia. With the deep freeze on Cuba thawing, you may soon see a return to minor league baseball in Cuba. Potential expansion or relocation of an MLB franchise to the Caribbean and even Asia has been contemplated.
For now, baseball will remain in North America with the occasion forays into the many baseball hotbeds that have sprung up.