By Evan Weiner |
You have to wonder if Boston Red Sox customers really want to lose two home chances to see the New York Yankees in 2019. One of baseball’s oldest and most combative rivalries is going across the pond with the Yankees and Red Sox playing two games in London, England, during the 2019 season.
Major League Baseball is expanding the playing field so to speak and is planning to open the 2019 season in Japan with Oakland and Seattle scheduled for games in Tokyo on March 20 and 21. It is unclear whether Major League Baseball will have any presence in Tokyo during the 2020 Summer Olympics but the baseball industry is following the NFL, NBA, NHL and soccer in bringing their products globally.
Baseball is strong in Latin America, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia. But the sport is relatively obscure in England although there should be enough Americans in London in the summer of 2019 to sell out a London baseball venue, especially for the Yankees and Red Sox.
London has hosted NFL games and there will be three in the city this year and NBA contests. The NHL seems to have abandoned London for the time being and will concentrate on European hockey strongholds. Despite the Brexit uncertainty and how it will impact Great Britain’s economy, the NFL is going full steam ahead and has not dashed any talk of placing a franchise in London in the near future. The NBA seems happy taking its product to the U. K., Mexico and for the preseason China and other destinations.
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have worked out a deal that will bring games to places not necessarily associated with baseball such as London. It’s all about the money. But there is the question. Are Boston Red Sox consumers’ happy with losing two Yankees home games to expand baseball’s footprint?
By Evan Weiner for the Politics of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.