Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and MLB Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred Jr. announced Monday, May 9, a long-term strategic partnership that underlined the league’s commitment to conduct major MLB events in London over the next five years in addition to having regular-season games in 2023, 2024, and 2026.
The league also announced the formation of MLB London Legacy Group, whose members come from the Greater London Authority, Baseball Softball UK, and related key stakeholders in the country.
“Today is an historic day for London and baseball. I want to continue attracting world-class sport to our city as part of my mission to make London the sporting capital of the world,” Khan said.
“This long-term partnership with Major League Baseball is ambitious and includes regular-season games as well as a legacy program designed to grow the number of Londoners watching and playing baseball at a grassroots level in London. These games will be a fantastic opportunity to once again showcase the London Stadium as a multi-use venue and a fantastic asset for the capital.”
The city of London & @MLB have formed a long-term strategic partnership that includes MLB playing regular season games in London in ’23, ’24 & ’26. MLB Europe will also conduct fan events, expanded UK-focused content, baseball participation programs, and more. pic.twitter.com/vcMuTBWp8P
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) May 9, 2022
MLB comes to London for first time since debut in 2019
Manfred said the MLB decided to return to London due to the overwhelming success it previously had as well as the city’s “great appetite for baseball”.
“All aspects of the inaugural MLB games in London were an overwhelming success,” said Commissioner Manfred.
The commissioner, in a statement, promised that MLB games, fan events, and “opportunities to play and watch the game” would be making their way to the capital.
“It was clear that sports fans in London had a great appetite for baseball and that passion was shared by Mayor Khan as well as the business and media community,” he added.
“We are confident in making a long-term commitment to London and are looking forward to returning to the city with more MLB games, special fan events, and other opportunities to play and watch the game.”
Manfred said he would “love” to see an MLB team permanently based in London.
The league made its debut in the British capital with the inaugural MLB London Series back in 2019 when the city hosted a game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. This was not only the first-ever regular-season game played in the UK but also in Europe.
In 2020, London was given the opportunity to host two MLB games between the St Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. Unfortunately, these games were canceled due to the pandemic.
MLB related events in London
Hosting MLB games in London is hoped to encourage MLB Europe to conduct London-based fan events, more UK-focused content, baseball participation program, and media arrangements aimed to help the sport’s growth across the British capital.
Earlier this year, MLB announced plans to introduce “an electrifying new baseball format” called Home Run Derby X, on July 9 in London’s Crystal Palace Park.
Home Run Derby X is an attempt by the league to introduce the sport to an entirely new audience.