Following in the footsteps of the NFL, the MLB aims to hold its first regular season game in London in 2017.
Commissioner Rob Manfred told the Associated Press, “We are very interested in playing there, and we’re working hard on that one.”
During an interview marking Manfred’s first anniversary as baseball’s top administrator, the 57-year-old Harvard Law School alumnus surmised, “I don’t think it will be an opener because of the weather issues. It would be later in the season.”
Since 2007, the National Football League has played regular season games in London every year in a series known as the NFL International Series. So far, Wembley Stadium serves as the home stadium for the International Series and will continue to host NFL games through at least 2020. Additional stadiums will be added to the schedule in London starting in 2016.
Manfred plans to hold the first MLB game at London’s Olympic Stadium. MLB.com reported that in prior years baseball regular season games opened in Monterrey, Mexico (1999), San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001), and four times in Tokyo, Japan (’00, ’04, ’08, ’12).
In his first year as commissioner, Manfred considers the streaming of MLB games in China one of his greatest achievements. As far as which teams will play in the MLB London debut, the commish keeps his cards close to his chest.
“We haven’t really settled on teams, and I don’t want to speculate about that,” he stated. “Obviously, we want to make as good a first impression in Europe as we possibly can.”