According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, MLB is finalizing plans to debut its grandest rivalry to Europe with the Yankees taking on the Red Sox from London Stadium in June of 2019.
In the immortal words of English, garage duo Artful Dodger, “Are you ready, ready, London?” As it looks like the Yankees and Red Sox will take their historic feud across the pond for a two-game series set to be played June 29-30, 2019.
The games would be held at London Stadium which was initially built for the 2012 Olympic Games. Currently, home to English Premier League club, West Ham United F.C., the 66,000 seat stadium would host the first non-exhibition fixtures in baseball’s storied saga.
MLB has previously shared parts of its regular season schedule in Australia, Japan and Mexico — and is slated to see the Twins and Indians play a two-game set in Puerto Rico, April 17-18.
Commissioner Rob Manfred is eager to take a page out of the NFL’s playbook and set up a potentially lucrative agreement with London mayor Sadiq Khan — as the two first held discussions back in September of 2016.
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Mayor Khan told the London Evening Standard he is committed to making his city a hub for all major professional sports, especially since the London Stadium is a publically-owned space.
"“The sooner the better,” he previously told Standard Sport with regards to an MLB game at the London Stadium, “because I want London to be the sporting capital of the world.”"
According to Sherman’s report, details about the arrangement still need to be ironed out, such as finding a promoter, signing a deal with the London Stadium and getting the Yankees and Red Sox to agree to lose one home game a piece officially.
Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone is all for the opportunity to show off his club to England’s royal family, as he told the NY Times.
"“It’s a shorter trip than to California, right?” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone, who has never been to London, said on Monday. “Let’s get the royal family out there. Maybe the queen can make an appearance.”“Anytime you can grow our game, I think that’s a pretty cool thing,” Boone said."
Both the Yanks and Sox made moves this offseason to set themselves up for a continued run of success, so it’s no surprise MLB is looking to strike while the iron is hot.
It also helps that both teams already have partnerships with English Premier League clubs; owner of the Red Sox, John Henry, is also the man in charge of Liverpool F.C., while the Yankees do business with current EPL leaders Manchester City.
A Yankees versus Red Sox two-game series may be the only time Commissioner Manfred doesn’t concern himself with pace of play. Heck, he may even be hoping for extra-innings.