By Rory Carroll
(Reuters) – Major League Baseball’s first-ever game in London featuring world champion Boston Red Sox and rival New York Yankees is the best-selling game of the 2019 regular season, ticket seller StubHub said on Thursday.
Following matchups in Mexico and Japan in recent years, the league is making its first foray into Europe with hopes of expanding its international reach with the help of its two most-storied franchises.
“The appeal of MLB to a global audience continues to grow, and the overwhelming response for the rivalry match-up between the Yankees and Red Sox in London certainly proves that the sport has fans worldwide,” said Jill Krimmel, a general manager at StubHub.
“So far, fans from 44 different states in the U.S. and 27 different countries have already purchased tickets for the MLB London series, demonstrating that baseball has tremendous potential overseas much like the NFL and NBA have seen.”
The Yankees are driving demand stateside, outselling the Red Sox, who defeated the Bronx Bombers in the Divisional Series last season, by 18 percent.
The Philadelphia Phillies have seen a surge in ticket sales following the acquisition of slugger Bryce Harper, who signed a record 13-year $330 million contract in the off-season.
Phillies’ ticket sales are up 93 percent from the same time last year and up 157 percent over the last three seasons, the highest three-year growth out of all the teams in the league.
MLB’s opening day is March 28.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)