MLB posts good numbers for London Series as it looks to expand to into the UK and Europe

Last week London was treated to two contests between iconic Major League Baseball sides, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The rivals travelled across the pond for the London Series as MLB looks to crack the UK and Europe just as the NFL and NBA have been doing over the last decade or so.

The early indications look encouraging. MLB did not reveal the exact numbers, but it is reported that record merchandise sales were made. The two matches surpassed three-day MLB All-Star merchandise sales all the way back from 2008 when the All-Star Game was played in New York.

For MLB those numbers could be the catalyst for more regular season games in the UK and Europe in the coming years. The NFL has seen great success with its London games, the NBA have too. Londoners are seemingly receptive to American sports and the MLB can see the examples set by the other two sports.

The UK and Europe is a huge sporting market that the MLB should look to reach and create a fan base for itself.

Attendance at the two London Series games came to a total of 118,718, with 70% sold to UK based fans, 20% to US fans and 10 % going to fans from the rest of the world according to reports, and the nearly 60,000 crowd who showed up for the first game broke the record for attendance at an MLB game outside of the US.

The Red Sox and Yankees are storied franchises with a huge rivalry, and so they might not be the best examples to use when thinking about growing a sport. These are global brands with huge followings, and you wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find a Yankees hat walking around London. The St Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs will visit in 2020, and that might give the suits at MLB a better idea of how successful baseball can be in London and further afield.

The data is there, maybe there is space for more research but it is all very promising for baseball. The NFL and NBA were newcomers to London at some point in time as well and have come a long way since then.

See the Head of Marketing – Europe at Visa, SVP International at Endeavor, Managing Director at Engine Sport and Sports Partnerships Manager at Twitter give their views on what the industry does next. Asking the questions will be the Chair of the Football Writers’ Association, Carrie Brown.

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