St. Louis Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III is optimistic about Major League Baseball‘s future in London, believing that regular-season games are a step toward bolstering the sport’s popularity internationally.
In June, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees squared off in a two-game series at London Stadium, marking MLB’s first ever games in Europe. The league will make a return to London Stadium next season, as the Cardinals will play a pair games there against the Chicago Cubs in June.
Regular-season games in London were long a priority for MLB, meaning that the Red Sox-Yankees series represented a fulfillment of that goal. DeWitt feels that it could ultimately be a springboard for MLB, which he believes is in a strong position to build a substantial following in London. More from the Evening Standard:
“I think there’s just an affinity for things that are authentically American throughout the world,” he said. “We hope to pick up some new fans. They might be inspired to come and visit the States and tour the US and come visit some ballparks.”
Asked if he could envisage a future MLB franchise based in London, he said: “I think the first step is games over there. This is the second year back. I think if you see significant enthusiasm again, which you should, MLB might extend [the London Series] into a regular thing.
“I think it’s more likely that you would have a league form over there, and then maybe you could build it out, in the way that soccer … really has robust leagues in different countries. Then the World Cup becomes the true World Cup.” The games between Boston and New York this year were the most attended regular season MLB games, in any country, since 2003, drawing nearly 120,000 fans. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were among those to attend.
The Cardinals will face the Cubs at London Stadium June 13-14.
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