London Olympic Stadium

From BR Bullpen

London Olympic Stadium, also known as London Stadium and The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is located in London, England and was built for the 2012 Olympic Games, hosting the opening and closing ceremonies and the track and field event. After the games, it became the home turf of West Ham United, an association football (i.e. soccer) team in the English Premier League. It has 66,000 seats in football configuration, and is expected to seat around 60,000 for baseball.

On June 29-30, 2019, the stadium was converted into a ballpark to host the two-game series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees that constituted the first ever major league baseball games to be played in Europe. Olympic Stadium was preferred to the more mythic Wembley Stadium as its configuration made it easier to be converted to baseball purposes. Because MLB only had a short window of 21 days to prepare the field and then return it to West Ham in its original state, the decision was taken to install provisional artificial turf on top of the natural grass and the circular running track that are normally present. It resulted in an oddly-shaped field with vast amounts of foul territory but short distances, with the center-field fence at 389 feet from home. The artificial turf will be preserved and reused when MLB is scheduled to return in 2020, for another two-game series, this one between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, on June 13-14.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Associated Press: "Yanks, Red Sox play on artificial turf London", USA Today, May 21, 2019. [1]
  • Associated Press: "Cubs-Cards set for London on June 13-14 in 2020", USA Today, May 30, 2019. [2]
  • Bob Nightengale: "The games were ridiculous, but MLB's London Series was a huge success", USA Today, June 30, 2019. [3]