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London (AFP) – The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will clash in two regular-season games in London next year — the first ever Major League Baseball matches played in Europe, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Tuesday.
The 2019 series will be played on June 29 and June 30 at the London Stadium, the site of the 2012 Olympic Games, which will be configured for baseball, with an estimated capacity of 55,000.
Britain will follow other international venues that have hosted regular-season Major League games, joining Mexico, Japan, Puerto Rico and Australia.
A two-year deal has been agreed that will include another series in London in 2020, with participating teams to be announced, and other initiatives that will aim to establish a footprint in the city.
“Major League Baseball is excited to be bringing one of the most storied rivalries in sports to the passionate fans of London,” said Manfred.
“In our ongoing efforts to grow baseball, there is nothing as impactful as bringing live games and our talented players to fans. This is our most significant endeavour ever in Europe and we look forward to showcasing Major League Baseball in one of the world’s great cities.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan hailed the “historic agreement”.
“This is a major coup demonstrating, once again, that London is the sporting capital of the world and I am excited about a new partnership with MLB and the long-term future of this sport in our great city,” he said.
Boston Red Sox Principal Owner John W. Henry said: “For several years the Red Sox and Yankees have discussed playing in London as the first-ever Major League Baseball regular season game in Europe.”
“This series will surely be the most significant international event to date for Major League ball. I can’t wait to hear someone shout ‘play ball’ at London Stadium,” he added.
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