Breaking New Ground: MLB Eyes Global Expansion with Historic Opening Day in South Korea
The 2024 Major League Baseball (MLB) season is set to make history with its inaugural game between the Dodgers and Padres taking place in South Korea. This move is part of MLB’s continued efforts to broaden its international appeal, following in the footsteps of other North American sports leagues such as the NBA, NFL, and NHL. MLB has a history of hosting games overseas, with previous seasons witnessing games in London and Mexico City. Despite the NBA’s leading role in capitalizing on international markets, MLB’s decision to venture into South Korea, a nation that has produced notable baseball talents, is seen as a strategic move to expand its global audience. The choice of the Dodgers and Padres, teams geographically closer to Asia, could potentially tap into a new fan base. To delve deeper into the implications of this move, we turn to our guest, Patrick Rishe, Director of the Sports Business Program at Washington University in St. Louis, a seasoned expert on the business side of sports.
“It absolutely makes sense for Major League Baseball to try to push and play these games internationally in South Korea. That’s a great place to be. Certainly, in that part of the world, Korea has produced players before, and the Padres have a player on their team who’s South Korean. This is absolutely something that is a smart business decision for Major League Baseball. Why not expand the pie? And obviously, there are international opportunities abound. Major League Baseball is just trying to capitalize on the international market. Absolutely makes sense for Dodgers and the Padres. And lastly, geographically, Dodgers and Padres being closer to that part of the world, more likely that they’re going to have a core set of fans potentially in that market as opposed to, say, two Midwestern teams playing in South Korea. So absolutely makes sense, and we’ll see what happens from here.”
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