(Reuters) – The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, who make up one of the most storied rivalries in Major League Baseball (MLB), will play a two-game series in London on June 24-25, 2023, the league and its players’ union (MLBPA) announced on Thursday.
The MLB London Series will mark the return to the London Stadium following the inaugural series that was held in 2019 between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.
Those two matches were the first-ever regular season games played in Europe. MLB will also play regular-season games in London in 2024 and 2026 as part of a long-term strategic partnership with the city.
“It was a great experience, we had so much fun, there were so many runs scored,” former Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, who was part of the 2019 series, told reporters.
“I only came back in 2019 because we were playing in London. I was on my way to being retired, they announced the series and I was like ‘woah, maybe I’ll come back for one more year’ and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had playing baseball.”
The MLB made its foray into Europe following games in Mexico and Japan in recent years.
In 2000, the Cubs travelled to Tokyo to open the season with two games against the New York Mets and in 2003, played a three-game series against the Montreal Expos in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The Cardinals faced the Cincinnati Reds in a two-game series in Monterrey, Mexico in 2019.
“As a league we’re trying to grow the game globally,” Sabathia added. “Football (NFL) and basketball has done such a great job and I think it’s time for baseball.
“It was two perfect teams in 2019 with the Yankees and the Red Sox and you have two historic teams coming back next year with the Cubs and the Cardinals.
“We’re trying to show the UK our best product and hopefully expand to more cities and grow the game globally.”
Fans in London can register at mlb.com/londonseries for ticket and event updates.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak, writing by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)