News Roundup

Baseball At London Stadium: MLB Agree Deal To Host Sport At Hammers’ Home Ground

Major League Baseball have negotiated a deal for the American sport to be played at West Ham United’s home stadium of the London Stadium after the conclusion of the 2018/2019 Premier League season.

The former Olympic Stadium will host on one of the most famous rivalries within baseball and world sport as a whole in the form of two New York Yankees versus Boston Red Sox matches.

The pair of fixtures will take place over the final weekend of June 2019 and be the first time that the Yankees and the Red Sox, who have faced off over 2,000 times, have played each other outside of the United States of America.

Furthermore, it will be the first time that the MLB, the world’s premier baseball league, have had fixtures contested in Europe as they begin to branch out from America one or two times per season.

Fans wishing to register an interest in buying tickets for the historic event can do so already by heading over to the London Stadium’s Official Website and Hammers fans are expected to be given a discount, as is custom with music concerts and other events held at the ground.

The news comes just weeks after the Stratford arena was subbed as a host venue for next summer’s Cricket World Cup, which will be taking place in England at the time of Europe’s first ever MLB contest.

Aside from all home matches of West Ham since the start of the 2016/2017 campaign, post-London 2012 Olympics, the stadium has been the host of a range of different sports.

Rugby, athletics and even motor racing, namely the 2015 Race of Champions have all been held there with great success in the last couple of years and this ground-breaking event is set to mirror that.

The venue’s wide-open spaces and retractable seating give it the perfect dimensions to host this kind of sport and the operators of the 60,000-seater LS185 certainly seem to be pleased with the agreement, according to their CEO Graham Gilmour.

“As a venue, we are immensely proud to be hosting the MLB’s international series at London Stadium in 2019.

“The event will see London Stadium further its aims to become the most widely used stadium in Europe, having hosted Premier League football, world athletics, international & domestic rugby union and league, Race of Champions in 2015 and inviting some of the world’s biggest musical names to perform in concert at the venue each summer.

“Our team delivered what has been widely lauded as the best IAAF World Athletics Championships and the IPC World ParaAthletics Championships in 2017, and we have scheduled our most expansive concert series yet for the summer of 2018. We are relishing the opportunity to work with MLB for their international series next summer.

“The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox rekindling their rivalry in the UK for the very first time, at London Stadium, will provide yet another incredible sporting spectacle which the entire city can be proud of.

“We look forward to welcoming the MLB, teams and fans to London Stadium for the first year of what we hope to be a fruitful, long-term partnership.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who’s desire has long been to be able to stage baseball and other American sports in London, culminating in the creation of MLB’s London Series, was also delighted by the news.

“Since I became Mayor, I have been determined to bring baseball to our city and I am really pleased we have been able to reach what is an historic agreement.

“I’m committed – as is MLB – to ensure baseball has a long-term future over many years in London.”

As well as baseball, other sports, such as NFL, which has been being staged at Wembley Stadium and is also poised to be at Tottenham Hotspur’s new ground, have become permanent fixtures in the city, something that the organisations involved will hope to be the same with the country’s oldest sport.

But for now, the London Stadium’s primary focus will be football and David Moyes’ Hammers’ final two fixtures of the English Top-Flight season, where Manchester United and Everton will be the opponents in Stratford on Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon respectively.