The Red Sox-Yankees London series could be huge for MLB
This June, the Boys of Summer will be heading across the pond to bring America’s favorite pastime to the Motherland. The Red Sox and Yankees will battle it out in London with the whole world watching.
For the first time ever, Major League Baseball will be heading to the United Kingdom. In what will be the first step in a groundbreaking expansion to Europe, the Red Sox and Yankees will play a series in London. And I can’t think of a better sports fanbase for the rivalry to be played in front of.
If any of you out there are fans of the English Premier League, Rugby, hell even Darts, you know how these fans are. They have their favorites and they support them to the bitter end. Sometimes to their detriment but loyal nonetheless. So what better place to bring two of the most passionate fan bases in all of sports?
As we all know there isn’t a group of fans that dislike each other more in American sports than Red Sox and Yankee fans. It doesn’t matter how many championships are won, how even the annual records are, or who got the last laugh. These two fan bases will forever be at odds with one another and I don’t ever see it calming down.
Uk fans will feel very comfortable with the tension that this rivalry brings as it’s what they feed on when it comes to sports. The MLB should build this up to have a vibe much as you’d see at a Manchester Derby or a Real Madrid v. Barcelona match. That big fight heated rivalry feel. That’s Red Sox v. Yankees.
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Add in the new chapter of the story with the Red Sox winning the World Series this past season and this can only get hotter. Not to mention that on their run to the Commissioner’s Trophy the Red Sox ran through the Yankees and eliminated them in New York. I can already hear the fans chanting and cheering as the games carry on.
A similar movement has been in place for years with the NFL going overseas to feed their international fans. There are a few NFL games each season held in London and the fans always turn out and are vocal and energetic. This is something baseball is in dire need of. Baseball is known as the old man sport that is too slow to keep the younger crowds attention.
When you watch a game the in-stadium crowd looks like a heavy and balanced mix of young kids, young adults, and your lifelong fans. The in-stadium fans aren’t the problem, it’s the at-home viewers. The tv crowd is where MLB is hurting and this is a way to boost those numbers. If they can have a successful trip to the UK and gain subscribers and viewers, that’ll boost their business.
I imagine there will be some growing pains at first as like I said above, baseball IS a slower game. It’s not as action packed as football and takes a little more nuance to follow. It’s a game of tactics, chess moves, and patience. I see this as a positive though for the sports I mentioned above, darts and soccer/football. Those both require tact and patience mixed with action, much like baseball.
I think if Major League Baseball does their promoting correctly, this could be massive for them. If they appeal to the crowd and give them anything and everything they can to open the sport to them, it’ll go over like gangbusters. Don’t speak down to the UK crowd and approach them as intelligent fans and you’ll have one foot already in the door.
Make the teams and athletes larger than life, make them near mythological. Mookie Betts, JBJ, J.D. Martinez, Luke Voit, Aaron Judge, these guys are all beyond marketable. Advertise them as the superstars they are and the fans will buy in. Have them go over and do media, visit with local soccer clubs, visit with kids, the works. Get these guys out in the public eye and get the buzz going early.
With the MLB taking a page out of the NFL’s playbook and heading across the pond this summer, it’s clear they have expansion on their minds. Whether it be a new smaller baseball league in Europe or something else, London will be the first piece of the puzzle. Being a Manchester United fan myself, I know how rabid UK fans can be for their clubs. And those fans in London will be ready for the rivalry and they’ll be loyal to their chosen side.