International Sports

Yankees and Red Sox to play in England as Major League Baseball announces historic London deal

Key Points
  • Two MLB games scheduled in London for June 2019
  • New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to play at the Olympic Stadium
  • The games mark the start of what MLB is calling "a long-term footprint in the city", with a commitment to play further games there in 2020.
Rich Schultz | Getty Images Sport | Getty

London's Olympic Stadium will play host to the first Major League Baseball (MLB) games to be held in Europe, when the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox play there next summer.

The two regular season games between the teams will take place on June 29 and 30, 2019 and are the start of what MLB is calling "a long-term footprint in the city," with a commitment to play further games in London in 2020.

Each player crossing the Atlantic to play will receive an extra $60,000 for the two games.

"Major League Baseball is excited to be bringing one of the most storied rivalries in sports to the passionate fans of London. In our ongoing efforts to grow baseball, there is nothing as impactful as bringing live games and our talented players to fans," MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred Jr said in a statement. "This is our most significant endeavor ever in Europe and we look forward to showcasing Major League Baseball in one of the world's great cities."

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The Olympic Stadium has a capacity of 55,000 and still retains the running track used for the 2012 Olympics. It is the current home of Premier League soccer side West Ham United, who took ownership of the facility in 2016.

This may be a first for baseball, but the stadium has already shown its versatility. Five rugby union World Cup games were held there in 2015 and it has hosted two rugby league internationals. And, also in 2015, it was temporarily converted into a race circuit for the Race of Champions motorsports event.

Last summer, a MLB fan event was held in London's Hyde Park that saw England international cricketers Joss Butler and Alex Hales join forces with players from the Red Sox and LA Dodgers to take part in a "home-run derby."

Baseball and soccer have met before too, in the U.S., with Premier League side Liverpool playing at both the Boston Red Sox's Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium in New York.

"It's the first time the Red Sox and Yankees have played one another outside of New York or Boston. There were significant challenges that had to be overcome," Liverpool and Red Sox owner John W Henry said following the announcement. "I can't wait to hear someone shout 'play ball' at London Stadium."

MLB also announced that the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners will open next season at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on March 20 and 21.