Major League Baseball takes over London

The original American sport baseball is taking over London this week ahead of Major League Baseball’s London Series between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies with retail activations, product launches and a free fan festival.

International MLB games are a way to grow and promote baseball worldwide and engage with fans, and the UK is a priority market for the sport. This weekend’s match-up marks the third edition of the London Series, following the Chicago Cubs versus St. Louis Cardinals in 2023 and the inaugural series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in 2019.

But this is much more than just two teams playing baseball. The MLB World Tour: London Series last year generated nearly 53 million pounds for the London economy, according to an impact study undertaken by Two Circles.

“The London Series is a big outreach as we know that baseball resonates here as there is a big consumer products business, and the UK is a huge sport market,” Sarah McNaughton, head of consumer products EMEA at MLB told FashionUnited.

New Era x MLB London Series drop Credits: New Era

To celebrate this year’s event, MLB has teamed up with a host of its licensees, including New Era, Champion, Fanatics, Nike, ’47, and Lids, to host retail activations and launch exclusive products to showcase the culture and influence of baseball, which spans from the ballpark to fashion, music, and film.

MLB focused on cultivating licensees for consumer products to drive baseball growth

Sport has always influenced fashion, but the aesthetic of baseball from its stripped shirts to the varsity jacket and cap, as well as the iconic logos of the MLB’s 30 clubs across the US and Canada, have long been desired in pop culture and street style. Over the years, MLB has done brand collaborations with the likes of Ralph Lauren, Supreme, Off-White, DKNY, and even Gucci, and they’ve been developing their own affordable and premium lines with their licensees.

“MLB works with a group of licensees through a collaborative process to continually feed the interest in baseball, allowing them to do something different each time,” added McNaughton. “Quality is important, both in the product we are presenting to the consumer, as well as our partnerships.”

New Era x MLB London Series pop-up at Selfridges
New Era x MLB London Series pop-up at Selfridges Credits: New Era

MLB opens pop-up in Selfridges with New Era

Collaborations with their licensees are front and centre for this weekend’s London Series with New Era’s MLB pop-up at Selfridges making the biggest impact on the luxury department store’s first floor in the Men’s Designer Street Room. The pop-up runs until June 12 and features the latest premium New Era x MLB London Series drop, championing the Mets and Phillies head-to-head with matching apparel and hats.

Highlights include Harrington jackets and casual chinos in team colourways in premium Japanese fabric, revere dual-team logo shorts, featuring iconic British landmarks in graphic prints, waffle knit crew neck T-shirts with standout team logo embroidery, and oversized graphic T-shirts with team crests and London landmarks printed on the front and back.

The collection is topped off with New Era’s signature fitted 59Fifty, adjustable 9Forty, unstructured 9Twenty, and Trucker headwear silhouettes, including both teams in matching team livery and celebratory London Series styles.

New Era x MLB London Series pop-up at Selfridges
New Era x MLB London Series pop-up at Selfridges Credits: New Era

The space also includes a customisation activation for customers to get their headwear heat-pressed with exclusive New Era baseball-themed heat patches.

Prices for the premium New Era x MLB London Series collection from 8 pounds for limited-edition pin badges to 261 pounds for the jacket.

MLB retail activations with Nike, Lids and Champion

Other retail activations include Niketown stores on Oxford Circus and Westfield White City featuring dedicated MLB displays with a focus on The Mets and Phillies, while American retailer Lids has a fairground ‘claw’ machine in its Oxford Street and Camden stores to win tickets and Mets/Phillies novelties, as well as jersey and cap on display, and athletic brand Champion has created a trophy room display on its store windows on Brewer Street in a nod to its place in baseball heritage.

MLB London Series
MLB London Series Credits: MLB

Titi Finlay creates custom jerseys with Fanatics for MLB London Series

To celebrate the occasion, Fanatics has collaborated with artist and sneakerhead Titi Finlay to create a limited-edition collection of Nike MLB jerseys featuring hand-drawn illustrations and digitally designed badges, capturing the essence of Philadelphia, New York and London with landmarks, food and baseball iconography.

On the design inspiration, Finlay said in a social media post: “My initial inspiration was looking at old travel patches and creating for each jerseys a selection of travel patches that feel like the team has collected along the way from their city to London.”

Only 24 jerseys for each team will be available from Lids Stratford and on on June 7.

MLB London Series fan festival in 2023
MLB London Series fan festival in 2023 Credits: MLB

MLB hosts fan festival in Trafalgar Square

While the action is taking place at The London Stadium, MLB is hosting a free-to-attend fan festival in Trafalgar Square from June 7 to 9. There will be screenings of both games, complete with DJs and between-innings entertainment, along with New York and Philly-inspired food for sale.

There is also a unique live baseball experience that uses augmented reality to blend real life and virtual gameplay, as well as exclusive MLB World Tour: London Series merchandise for sale, alongside headwear from all 30 MLB teams, including personalisation stations from New Era and sportswear brand ’47.

New Era x MLB London Series drop
New Era x MLB London Series drop Credits: New Era
New Era x MLB London Series drop
New Era x MLB London Series drop Credits: New Era
New Era x MLB London Series pop-up at Selfridges
New Era x MLB London Series pop-up at Selfridges Credits: New Era

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