LONDON – Stakes are high in this initial London Series.
Well to be more specific, they are moderately high for the Yankees, higher for the Red Sox and highest of all for Major League Baseball.
A few hours before the first European regular-season game started Saturday at the London Stadium, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said that the game's current obligations on this new (for baseball) continent would determine the immediate future of the venture.
"I think whether we play in Europe in  will be a product of how the next few years go," says Manfred at a press conference. "My own vision is, I want to have sustained play in Europe. I'm excited to be in London. I'm glad we'll be back next year. I'd like to be back after that. But I am also interested in to play in other cities in Europe. "Next June, Cubs and Cardinals will be in a few games in London. Nothing in addition is determined. Although Manfred would not comment on other potential European cities that could host games, a list of obvious candidates includes. Rome ̵
"We are very initial," Manfred said to determine other cities. "The most important thing about any city is the facility. Obviously we sat down on London when we came to the realization that London Stadium could remember a ballpark. Many people will tell them they can build a ballpark. Earth and find out if a particular facility can be configured for baseball, it's just too early to enter other cities. "
As to how to assess the success, Manfred mentioned the ticket sales, the local TV outlook and the local fan engagement.
"The Yankees made a great youth event Thursday," said Manfred, referring to a clinic attending many prominent Yankees alumni. "I think it is indicative that there is a broadly defined game in baseball here in the UK. And we would like to see continued growth in this area."
From what Manfred said, the second pillar of growth would come: local talent.
"When playing a player from Europe, playing a player from a particular country that makes his mark in the big leagues, it drives the interest of the people of that country and that is really important to us," Manfred says. who said that 20 European players are currently employed in baseball.
The commissioner said he and his deputies monitored the secondary ticket market as a yardstick for the game's success. Of the original party, Manfred said, 70 percent was sold in the UK and 30 percent in the US.
"Everyone at London is a big event city," says Manfred. "We think we have a big event. What we've seen in the secondary market supports it."
11:30 New York time on Saturday morning, approx. 90 minutes before the first pitch, the cheapest tickets for the opening cost 67 pounds each or $ 85.06 at StubHub. For Sunday's game, the lowest ticket was £ 71.69 or $ 91.01.