MLB Has Received Interest From European Cities For Future Games
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the league has seen "a lot of outreach from other facilities in other cities around Europe" about hosting games following this weekend's Yankees-Red Sox series in London. The Cardinals and Cubs are slated to visit London in '20, and Manfred said, "We love London. We’re going to be back next year, and I hope we’re going to be back regularly. But I'd love to play some other places as well” ("Yankees-Red Sox," ESPN, 6/30). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale notes officials from several European cities "met with MLB officials during their stay" and "expressed interest in being the next cities to host MLB games." MLB Senior VP/Int'l Business Jim Small said all of the feedback he received about the London Series "was that it was fantastic." Small: "It was such a great fresh start for baseball here." The "only major change MLB officials will make before next year's event is to enhance their marketing efforts, perhaps bringing over a couple of players from the Cubs and Cardinals during the winter and increase the number of MLB retail stores around London." Small said this weekend was a "learning process" for the league, but it was a "great success." Yankees and Red Sox players left London "wanting a return trip." Yankees Senior VP & GM Brian Cashman said, "I'd love to see the All-Star Game here. It would never happen, but I'd love to see it." He added, "If they ever put a team back in Montreal, maybe they can put one back in London, too" (USA TODAY, 7/1). Manfred said, "I'm glad we're here. Obviously, playing in Europe presents some challenges for us that the NFL doesn't have. It's a lot easier for them to play in a soccer/football stadium. It's virtually impossible for us. We do have additional challenges, but we're just excited to be here now" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/30).
STARTING SOMETHING: ABC’s Julia Macfarlane said, “It's hoped that this debut will be the start of the sport blossoming in Europe and a lucrative European market for the game” (“GMA,” ABC, 6/30). ESPN’s Alex Rodriguez: “At a macro level, kudos to Major League Baseball. This is the best thing that has happened since 1997 when the interleague play was introduced. It was wildly successful, and now we've crossed the pond with our very best teams.” Fox’s Kevin Burkhardt before Saturday's game said, “I've done an NFL game here and I’ve seen the city just take to the NFL, wearing jerseys of all kinds. The NFL has now been here for over a decade, and now it's very popular. This is only the first steppingstone, and MLB wants to grow” (“MLB on Fox Pregame Show,” 6/29).
SOX AND STRIPES: Manfred said of why it was important to have the Yankees-Red Sox matchup in the first London Series, “We wanted to make a big impression with our first foray into Europe, and there's no better way than to bring rivals." Manfred: "That's why we picked the Yankees and the Red Sox, and the Cards and the Cubs. Other North American sports have been here. We felt that we needed to make as much noise as possible when we came, and the Yankees and the Red Sox have certainly done that” ("Yankees-Red Sox," ESPN, 6/30). ESPN’s Sam Borden said of the global popularity of the Yankees' "NY" logo, “I’ve seen the hats everywhere. I’ve traveled to Kazakhstan and Dubai." Borden: "As MLB tries to globalize even more, with the most games (ever played) outside the United States this season, that Yankees logo, they know, is the biggest weapon they’ve got. You see it all over the world." He added, "Anybody who is watching this game for the first time or is excited about baseball for the first time, you want to see the Yankees and Red Sox” (“Baseball Tonight,” ESPN, 6/30).