BIG LEAGUE baseball will be back in London next year, with the sport’s most important figure saying he would “love” to have a team based in London permanently.
Major League Baseball (MLB) will play a series of games in the capital over the next five years after the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan struck a deal with the league during a trade trip to the US.
MLB chief Robert Manfred said he looked forward to a “continuing relationship” with London over the year and would “love” to see a team based in the capital within the next decade.
Speaking at MLB headquarters in New York, Khan said: “Major League Baseball’s commitment to London is very exciting for our city.
“We’re so excited to have them coming back to London Stadium”.
It also marked the launch of “legacy program” to sow a love of baseball in Londoners by support ing grassroots matches in the capital.
The London Stadium has previously hosted two games with the Yankees and the Red Sox in 2019 in the inaugural MLB series.
Further games were set for the summer of 2020 but were cancelled as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
Despite the pandemic putting a stopper in those plans, Manfred said “London did such a phenomenal job of hosting our players last time round” that players were thrilled to return to the capital.”
When asked if he’d like to see a London franchise, Manfred said: “It’s not a travel impossibility, it’s not out of the question”.
It originally cost MLB $10m of investment into London but it was “worth every penny”, according to Manfred.
It is the second major US professional league which has expressed an interest in a permanent London team, with the National Football League publicly speculating over a UK-based american football team for some years.