Press release Major League Baseball
Engaging fans of all ages and highlighting the growth of baseball & softball in the United Kingdom will be central themes throughout the week leading up to the Mitel & MLB Present London Series 2019, the first-ever MLB games played in Europe. Major League Baseball announced details of a full schedule of activities planned throughout London that will add to the already-present excitement of the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox facing the New York Yankees on June 29th & 30th at London Stadium.
These activities include a baseball cultural festival, known as “London Yards,” and a week-long schedule of baseball & softball programs that are focused on grassroots growth of the sport within the UK as well as the development of amateur players across Europe. The current list of activities, and associated dates, are as follows:
- “London Yards” – Friday, June 28th-Sunday, June 30th @ Truman Brewery
- A three-day baseball festival located near Brick Lane, a vibrant hub in East London. The free, ticketed event will include music, fun baseball virtual reality interactives, Boston & New York cuisine, and, of course, a LIVE screening of the Mitel & MLB Present London Series 2019. Information on how to register for time slots to London Yards will be announced soon.
- “PLAY BALL Park” – Sunday, June 23rd-Sunday, June 30th @ Community Track, London Stadium
- PLAY BALL Park will serve as the hub for all youth-focused baseball & softball activity, providing a quality, safe environment for local students, community groups, and fans that offers inclusive and engaging baseball activity. The PLAY BALL Park space will include a temporary baseball/softball diamond, pitching tunnels, batting cages, and baseball virtual reality portals. This engagement is a product of MLB’s larger PLAY BALL effort, which serves as baseball’s collective effort to encourage young people and communities to engage in baseball- or softball-related activities (e.g., formal leagues, special events, and casual forms of play).
- The full schedule of events at PLAY BALL Park includes:
- Sunday, June 23rd – MLB CUP: MLB and Little League International have invited four Little League U13 baseball teams based in London to compete in a small, friendly tournament at PLAY BALL Park. In addition to the games, players will attend the London Series Workout Day at London Stadium scheduled on Friday, June 28th. MLB CUP is MLB’s signature youth league competition, through which nearly 10,000 kids in Japan, Taiwan and Mexico have participated in tournament play over the last three years. This is the first MLB CUP to be held in Europe.
- Monday, June 24th-Wednesday, June 26th – PLAY BALL Events: MLB will invite local students and teachers to participate in intensive, fun sessions demonstrating casual forms of playing baseball & softball. All participants will receive free equipment (suitable for the home) and apparel to take with them to continue playing. These sessions are always free.
- Friday, June 28th – Special PLAY BALL Interactives: Participants from the MLB Cup and London-based youth softball players will have a special opportunity to meet important guests at PLAY BALL Park and the official London Series Workout Day. Specific details will be made available at a later date.
- ABOUT PLAY BALL: PLAY BALL events have become MLB’s signature youth engagement activity throughout the calendar year, while demonstrating the positive way the game can serve as an outlet for physical activity, fun with friends, and learning how to play the sport at its most basic levels. The overall initiative is spearheaded with flagship partners USA Baseball & USA Softball, and is supported by a variety of partners, including Major League Clubs, Minor League Baseball, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Little League Baseball International, and MLB Sponsors (Chevrolet, Scotts, and Kingsford). More information on the initiative can be found at PlayBall.org.
- “European Elite Development Tournament” – Tuesday, June 25th-Thursday, June 27th @ Farnham Park, National Team Training Centre
- Located at the only baseball & softball complex in the United Kingdom, MLB will host a European Elite Development Tournament for the first time in the country. The tournament will feature the 90 best teenage baseball players from 14 European countries, including the United Kingdom (Great Britain), Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine. Several players are also from the Ramstein Air Base in Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany). The three-day tournament, which will also feature a scouting showcase featuring scouts from MLB Clubs, will serve as a showcase of MLB’s Europe-wide elite development program.
- Additional Activity
- MLB Softball60 – Starting in late May, this program is designed to serve as a social opportunity for adults in London to have fun and be introduced to the sport via an adapted version of softball, which is a common social sporting activity among professionals and adults in the United States. The five-week season of app-powered games will take place across four London locations, will feature 30 teams in a formal league, and will include the opportunity for others to get involved via pick-up games. There will be a special showcase game scheduled during the week of the London Series.