MLB London Series

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2019 MLB London Series
MLB London Series 2019 program cover.jpg
Official program cover
DateJune 29, 2019 (2019-06-29) – June 30, 2019 (2019-06-30), 1:10 p.m. EDT / 18:10 BST (Saturday), 10:10 a.m. EDT / 15:10 BST (Sunday)
VenueLondon Stadium
CityLondon, United Kingdom
UmpiresDana DeMuth (crew chief), Ángel Hernández, Ed Hickox, Carlos Torres[1]
TelevisionUnited Kingdom:
BBC BT Sport
United States:
English: Fox (Saturday)
ESPN (Sunday)
Spanish: Fox Deportes (Saturday)
ESPN Deportes (Sunday)
TV announcersUnited Kingdom:
United States:
RadioEnglish: ESPN, Boston Red Sox Radio Network, WFAN (AM)
London Stadium in July 2015

The MLB London Series is a two-year arrangement for Major League Baseball (MLB) to play a total of four regular season games at London Stadium in London, United Kingdom, in 2019 and 2020. Sponsored by Mitel, it was branded as Mitel & MLB Present London Series 2019.[2] These were the first MLB games ever played in Europe.

The first games were played on June 29–30, 2019, with the Boston Red Sox hosting two games against the New York Yankees. The second set of games are scheduled for June 13–14, 2020, when the St. Louis Cardinals will host two games against the Chicago Cubs.


On May 8, 2018, MLB announced a two-year agreement to hold baseball games at London Stadium during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. The inaugural series was played between the Red Sox and Yankees, longtime divisional rivals.[3]

Outside of the contiguous United States and Canada, MLB has previously held regular season games in Australia, Japan, Mexico, and Puerto Rico,[4] and has held spring training games in China,[5] but has never held any games in Europe.[6] The National Football League has similarly held regular-season games in London—primarily at Wembley Stadium—under the banner of the NFL London Games. The NFL has developed a large fanbase in the United Kingdom, and as of 2018, the games at Wembley had attracted an average attendance of 85,031.[7] The NBA has similarly held games in London as part of its Global Games series.[6]

Kelhem Salter, MLB's director of growth and strategy in the EMEA region, noted that Europe was a "key growth market" for the league, and that Londoners were "big event-goers" and frequently sell-out events held there.[8] Unlike the other countries where MLB has held international games, baseball is not as popular and established in the United Kingdom.[8] Salter explained that the league wanted to differentiate its efforts in London from those of other leagues, by emphasizing a "connection to culture and the culture of the specific cities that our teams represent" to engage with new fans. In May 2018, the league began a year-long cultural program entitled "The 108" (referring to the number of stitches on a standard baseball) to promote the London games, encompassing a series of zines profiling MLB teams, as well as "The 108 Sessions" — a series of live concert events at local venues featuring acts representing the teams' cities. The campaign is designed to "build a genuine dialogue and relationship with cultural scenes that reflect those of the MLB home cities."[9][8]

Participating teams[edit]

The inaugural series was played between the Red Sox and Yankees, longtime divisional rivals,[3] who had expressed specific interest in participating in the London games. Salter noted that the Yankees and Red Sox are among MLB's most iconic teams, and contrasted the NFL's reluctance to send its high-profile teams to London, as they would be too disruptive to their lucrative and comparatively limited schedules (with a 16-game regular season in comparison to MLB's 162-game regular season).[8] Via their parent company Fenway Sports Group, the Red Sox are also co-owned with Premier League club Liverpool F.C.[10]

In May 2019, MLB announced that the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, another pair of long-standing rivals, would play a two-game series in London in June 2020.[11]


Boston Red Sox roster
Active roster Coaches/Other









New York Yankees roster
Active roster Coaches/Other










Locating a venue with the correct dimensions required for a baseball field was difficult, especially as the majority of stadiums in the London region are primarily designed for soccer. MLB officials had evaluated multiple options (including cricket fields such as The Oval), before finalizing London Stadium as the site.[8] The facility was originally constructed for the 2012 Summer Olympics; in late-2015, it was reported that MLB officials had measured the stadium's dimensions and considered it potentially suitable for baseball, and had negotiated the possibility of holding games there.[3][6]

MLB developed a plan to adapt London Stadium for the games to make it resemble an MLB ballpark, via installation of a new baseball field as an overlay on top of the stadium's existing running track and soccer pitch, with a seating configuration to emulate the more "intimate" layout and fan experiences of MLB ballparks. Materials to construct the playing surface include approximately 142,000 square feet (13,200 m2) of FieldTurf, and clay for the pitcher's mound and home plate area sourced from Pennsylvania.[12] As the facility's locker rooms are smaller and suited towards soccer, larger, MLB-style clubhouses were built within the stadium.[3] Dimensions from home plate are 330 feet (100.6 m) to the foul poles and 385 feet (posted as 117.4 m) to center field, with a 16-foot (4.9 m) fence.[12] The dimensions have been described as being potentially hitter-friendly.[3][13] The two points in left center and right center where the temporary fences join the wall in center field area are slightly closer than center, marked as 382 feet (116.4 m). As the roof overhangs the home plate area, there is a ground rule that balls hitting the roof are considered dead.[14]

On April 29, 2019, it was announced that ProgrammeMaster, a London-based sports publisher, had secured the rights to produce the official gameday programme.[15] On May 24, 2019, it went on sale online, priced at £10.[16]


In the United States, television rights for the series were split between Fox and ESPN respectively, with both games called by their lead commentary teams (led by Joe Buck and Matt Vasgersian, respectively). The first game aired as part of the afternoon (U.S. time) Fox Saturday Baseball, and the second aired in the morning.[17]

In November 2018, it was reported that Major League Baseball was nearing a deal with the BBC to broadcast the two games, with a broadcasting agreement similar to that of the NFL's partnership with the broadcaster. The league currently has a television rights deal with BT Sport, most recently-renewed through 2021 to cover the London games.[18] In May 2019, the BBC acquired digital rights to the London games for 2019 and 2020, with plans for a free-to-air television broadcast on the inaugural game.[19][20] The two games were streamed live on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website.[21]

The Boston Red Sox Radio Network also carried the games, with announcers Joe Castiglione, Dave O’Brien, and Sean McDonough.[22] WFAN (AM) carried the games in New York City.[23]


Pre-game at Game 2

Entertainment at the 2019 games included: the grounds crew performing "Y.M.C.A.", as is done at Yankee Stadium;[24] a "Sweet Caroline" sing-along, as is done at Fenway Park;[24] and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch. "New York, New York", which is played after every game at Yankee Stadium, was heard after both Yankee wins, despite the games being considered home games for the Red Sox.[25] Fans voted for Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, King Henry VIII, and the Loch Ness Monster to be the entrants in the mascot races.[26] "The Freeze", a spandex-clad sprinter who races fans at Atlanta Braves games, also appeared.[24]

At the June 29 game, the national anthems of both the United States of America and the United Kingdom were performed by The Kingdom Choir;[27] the ceremonial first pitches were thrown by participants of the Invictus Games with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in attendance;[28] the mascot race was won by Freddy Mercury;[29] and The Freeze lost to a fan in their footrace.[30]

At the June 30 game, the national anthems were performed by the Capital Children's Choir;[31] The Freeze defeated a fan in their footrace;[32] and the mascot race was won by King Henry VIII.[33]

Series summary[edit]

Year Date Away team Score Home team City Stadium Attendance
2019 June 29 New York Yankees 17–13 Boston Red Sox United Kingdom London London Stadium 59,659
June 30 New York Yankees 12–8 Boston Red Sox 59,059
2020 June 13 Chicago Cubs St. Louis Cardinals
June 14 Chicago Cubs St. Louis Cardinals

Game summaries[edit]

Both teams wore their home (white) jerseys in game one, in order for the Yankees to appear in their well-known pinstripes, despite being the visiting team.[34] The Red Sox wore their home red alternate jerseys in game two, with the Yankees again wearing their famous pinstripes. In late June, MLB announced that both teams would be allowed to have 26 active players on their rosters during the series (one more than MLB normally allows), with the extra man being a position player.[35] Both teams were also allowed to have 28 players travel to London, in case a roster move (such as due to injury) was required.[35]

Game 1[edit]

At 4 hours 42 minutes, the game was only three minutes shorter than the longest nine-inning game in MLB history (August 18, 2006, also between the Red Sox and Yankees).[36][37] The 30 total runs scored were the second-most ever in a game between these two teams (31 were scored on August 21, 2009, a 20–11 New York win).[38][39] The attendance of 59,659 was the most at an MLB game since September 28, 2003, when a crowd of 60,988 at Qualcomm Stadium saw the San Diego Padres lose to the visiting Colorado Rockies.[40][41]

Saturday, June 29, 2019, 18:10 BST at London Stadium in London, United Kingdom 92 °F (33 °C)
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 6 0 2 6 3 0 0 0 0 17 19 0
Boston 6 0 0 0 0 1 6 0 0 13 18 0
WP: Chad Green (2–2)   LP: Steven Wright (0–1)
Home runs:
NYY: Hicks (6), Gardner (12), Judge (7)
BOS: Chavis 2 (14), Bradley Jr. (9)
Attendance: 59,659
Notes: Game duration 4:42

Game 2[edit]

Didi Gregorius at bat during the third inning of Game 2

Boston had three first-inning home runs, the first time the team accomplished that feat since August 14, 1979.[42][43] New York came from behind to take an 11–4 lead in the seventh inning, when they sent 14 batters to the plate.[42] An eighth-inning homer by Didi Gregorius extended the Yankees' record of consecutive games with a home run to 31.[42] The 50 total runs scored in the two-game series were the most ever in consecutive games between the Yankees and Red Sox.[42]

Sunday, June 30, 2019, 15:10 BST at London Stadium in London, United Kingdom 72 °F (22 °C)
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 2 0 0 0 0 9 1 0 12 13 2
Boston 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 8 15 2
WP: Adam Ottavino (3–2)   LP: Marcus Walden (6–1)
Home runs:
NYY: Gregorius (3)
BOS: Bogaerts (16), Martinez (18), Vázquez (11)
Attendance: 59,059
Notes: Game duration 4:24

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Imber, Gil (June 28, 2019). "2019 MLB London Series Umpire Roster". Close Call Sports & Umpire Ejection Fantasy League. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  2. ^ "Connecting in one swing: inside Mitel's title sponsorship of the MLB London Series". Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  3. ^ a b c d e Carpenter, Les (2018-07-21). "'You want to make sure you get it right': Baseball's big plans for London". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  4. ^ Gray, Niall (May 8, 2018). "Yankees Red Sox Will Play In London In 2019". Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  5. ^ "2008 MLB China Series". Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Ferguson, Ryan (2015-12-09). "MLB in Europe? London in the frame as baseball expands its horizons". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  7. ^ "NFL London Games Record Highest-Ever Average Attendance". Newsweek. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e ""We don't want to emulate the NFL and NBA": How MLB is planning to create its own London identity". SportsPro. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  9. ^ "MLB Steps Up the Build to Its First Ever London Game by Launching 'The 108' Zine and Live Music Night". Complex. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  10. ^ Hartwell, Darren (June 1, 2018). "Why Red Sox Were OK Giving Up Home Games For London Series Vs. Yankees". NESN. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  11. ^ "Cubs, Cardinals to play London series in 2020". ESPN. AP. May 30, 2019. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "MLB going to great lengths for Yankees-Red Sox series in London". New York Post. Associated Press. May 21, 2019. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  13. ^ "Yankees-Red Sox Games in London Next June Could Be Home Run Derbies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  14. ^ Blum, Ronald (June 28, 2019). "High cheese comes to land of high tea: Yanks vs Red Sox". New Haven Register. AP. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  15. ^ "ProgrammeMaster to Produce 2019 MLB London Series Programmes". (Press release). April 29, 2019.
  16. ^ "Mitel & MLB Present London Series 2019 Red Sox v Yankees Pre-Order Programme". Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  17. ^ "Fox, ESPN will each broadcast a game of the London Series". Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  18. ^ "Report: MLB and BBC close to London Series rights deal". SportsPro. Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  19. ^ "ESPN and BT launch new baseball show". 2019-03-28. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  20. ^ "BBC secures MLB London Series streaming rights". SportsPro. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  21. ^ "MLB London Series: All you need to know about New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox". 2019-06-25. Retrieved 2019-06-28.
  22. ^ Finn, Chad (June 3, 2019). "Sean McDonough to call Red Sox games in London". Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  23. ^ "Yankees vs. Red Sox in London (Air Only)". Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  24. ^ a b c Axisa, Mike (June 28, 2019). "Yankees vs. Red Sox: MLB London Series prediction and 10 things to know, including live stream info and TV start times". CBS Sports. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  25. ^ Wagner, James (June 30, 2019). "Yankees Leave London With 'Eye-Opening' Wins Over Red Sox". New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  26. ^ "We will race you: Mercury an MLB UK mascot". ESPN. June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  27. ^ "The Kingdom Choir to Perform at MLB Boston Red Sox/New York Yankees Game in London on 29 June". IMG Artists. June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  28. ^ @mlblondonseries (June 29, 2019). "A royal ceremonial first pitch" (Tweet). Retrieved June 29, 2019 – via Twitter.
  29. ^ Garro, Adrian (June 29, 2019). "Freddie Mercury outran Winston Churchill, Henry VIII and Nessie in the London Series mascot race". Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  30. ^ Garro, Adrian (June 29, 2019). "The Freeze met his match at the London Series, losing to 'Jason from New York' in an epic race". Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  31. ^ Emery, Debbie (June 30, 2019). "MLB London: 8 Things You Didn't See on TV During the Red Sox-Yankees UK Series". TheWrap. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  32. ^ @TomCaron (June 30, 2019). "Big bounce back effort for The Freeze here in London" (Tweet). Retrieved June 30, 2019 – via Twitter.
  33. ^ @MarlyRiveraESPN (June 30, 2019). "And the winner of today's "Mascot Race" – to John's delight at @batflips_nerds – is NOT Freddie Mercury, but Henry VIII!" (Tweet). Retrieved June 30, 2019 – via Twitter.
  34. ^ Lukas, Paul (March 26, 2019). "Uni Watch: MLB Preview 2019 – AL East". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  35. ^ a b Cotillo, Chris (June 22, 2019). "Red Sox-Yankees in London: Boston will have 26-man roster for series; 2 other players will travel on taxi squad". Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  36. ^ @TomCaron (June 29, 2019). "The longest 9-inning game in #MLB history was on Aug. 18, 2006. It lasted 4:45" (Tweet). Retrieved June 29, 2019 – via Twitter.
  37. ^ "New York Yankees 14, Boston Red Sox 11 (2)". Retrosheet. August 18, 2006. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  38. ^ @SoxNotes (June 29, 2019). "Most combined runs scored in a Red Sox-Yankees game:" (Tweet). Retrieved June 29, 2019 – via Twitter.
  39. ^ "New York Yankees 20, Boston Red Sox 11". Retrosheet. August 21, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  40. ^ @PeteAbe (June 29, 2019). "The game in London drew 59,659" (Tweet). Retrieved June 29, 2019 – via Twitter.
  41. ^ "Colorado Rockies 10, San Diego Padres 8". Retrosheet. September 28, 2003. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  42. ^ a b c d "Tradition: Comeback lifts Yanks to London sweep of Red Sox". ESPN. AP. June 30, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  43. ^ "Boston Red Sox 12, Minnesota Twins 1". Retrosheet. August 14, 1979. Retrieved June 30, 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]