Major League Baseball hits it out of the (Olympic) park

London received a boost worth nearly £37 million to its economy by hosting the first ever regular season Major League Baseball game in Europe in Stratford.

According to a YouGov Sport event impact study, 120,000 attended the two-game series in June and promotional activities, and most applauded the London Stadium, at the heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Of those who bought tickets, 15% travelled from the United States and 10% from other countries around the world. Most of the visitors – 65% – travelled from somewhere in the UK outside London, spending on accommodation, food, drink, travel and retail, strongly benefiting the local economy.

The study, undertaken following the two games played between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees on 29 and 30 June 2019, added a further £9.5 million outside London.

The study found that:

  • 79% of visitors said they would now recommend people to visit London.
  • 87% of residents said the event made a positive contribution to the image, appearance and reputation of London.
  • 22% of visitors travelled to other parts of the UK during their trip.

The figures follow a report from UK Sport centred on the 2017 World Athletics Championships held at the London Stadium which showed that event brought in over £100 million to the wider economy.

What they said

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said, “The London Series attracted huge crowds and London Stadium provided the ideal venue for the action. I’m sure both Londoners and visitors alike are looking forward to MLB returning to our city next year.”

Lyn Garner, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “London Stadium’s flexibility comes in to its own for events like this and its versatility means we can attract events such as the World Athletics Championships and MLB which bring thousands of visitors – many travelling from around the world – and millions of pounds in to the economy.

“In little over one month the venue changed from a 60,000 Premier League football stadium, into a concert arena for 72,000 Muse fans and then into a purpose-built ‘field of dreams’ for MLB.

“As this report highlights, the impact of these events on the local, London and national economies is absolutely huge as well as delivering additional community benefits like sports coaching for school children. London Stadium continues to deliver on the legacy from the London 2012 Games.”

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