Major League Baseball is taking a page out of the NFL and NBA’s playbooks by trying to grow the league’s international reach.
Baseball already has a pretty considerable international market — the sport is huge in Latin America, Japan and South Korea, and its appeal is growing in plenty of other countries. MLB is planning to build on that, setting up games in Asia, England, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic between 2018 and 2021.
MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement, which was made public Friday, outlined the schedule for these games, which will begin with a matchup between the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians in San Juan, Puerto Rico, next April 17 and 18, per The Associated Press.
The CBA also calls for the 2018 season opener to be played in Asia, but a baseball official told The AP those games now are unlikely to happen due to a lack of planning. There will be a series in Mexico in April, too.
The league’s 2019 international schedule includes a season opener in Japan, another series in Mexico and a trip to London’s Olympic Stadium, where the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are the “most likely teams” to play a set, according to The AP. The 2020 season also is set to begin in Asia — no country has been confirmed — and feature spring games in Mexico and either Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic, while 2021 has a spring series set for Mexico.
There also will be spring training games in Mexico (2018 and 2020), either Puerto Rico or the DR (2019) and post-World Series tours in Japan (2018 and 2020) and either Asia or Mexico (2019).
Players who participate in any of the international games or tours will be compensated.
Thumbnail photo via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images