NEW YORK (Reuters) – Major League Baseball (MLB) is studying the feasibility of playing in London in 2018, two media organizations reported on Friday.
The Boston Herald and MLB.com say the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are the leading candidates to contest at least two regular-season games in the English capital, with the London Stadium the most likely venue.
“The Yankees have been at the forefront of suggesting that we bring the great game of baseball to London,” club president Randy Levine told the Herald and MLB.com.
“There have been some meaningful attempts to do so and we are hopeful and confident that we can play there soon. Playing the Red Sox in London would be a unique and special event.”
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said recently “it would be great” to play the Yankees in London.
Kennedy’s team are owned by John Henry and the Fenway Sports Group that also runs English Premier League soccer club Liverpool.
MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement includes a commitment from the organization and the players to compete in multiple international destinations including London.
“The commissioner is very open-minded about finding creative ways to stage the very best events that fit our overall objectives,” senior vice president of growth, strategy and international Chris Park told MLB.com.
Baseball, American football (NFL) and basketball (NBA) already stage regular games overseas.
The NFL had four games in London this season while the NBA has two scheduled for Mexico City in January.
MLB has also made frequent international forays but never to Europe where the sport appears to have a smaller following than the NFL and NBA.
The Yankees and Red Sox have perhaps the fiercest rivalry in baseball, akin to Real Madrid v Barcelona in soccer or Toronto v Montreal in ice hockey.
(Writing by Andrew Both; Editing by Tony Jimenez)