Major League Baseball has created London Yard, a three-day festival at The Old Truman Brewery in east London, that aims to "reimagine" baseball to attract a new audience.
The event forms part of MLB’s London activities, with two games taking place between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees at the London Stadium in Stratford on 29 and 30 June.
Gulraj Purewal, head of marketing, EMEA, at MLB, told Campaign: "London Yard is essentially our fan park, our fan festival. It's a take on traditional baseball's challenges and activities, but with a modern twist. We’re trying to take baseball to a very new audience – our 'new gen' fans – and it's about making baseball more accessible for them."
Visitors will be able to play virtual-reality games, test their skills in interactive batting cages and watch live screenings, as well as listen to live music and enjoy a curated menu of American-inspired food.
Jiri Bures, creative director at Imagination, which delivered the project, said: "We’ve tried to build a real cultural experience where you can come and really immerse yourself in a world of baseball culture through the pillars of food, music, technology and sport, so you can really get as close to the sport as you possibly can."
With the capacity for the London matches being around 60,000 people, MLB wanted to present an experience that was "freely accessible" and could be enjoyed by people with no knowledge of the sport.
Bures added: "One of the challenges we had was, like all sports, the audience for baseball is traditionally older and we’re trying to get younger people into the sport through these different lenses. So that's why we're doing things like video games, so we can really connect to them on their level before getting them into the world of baseball."
The experience also aims to raise the profile of baseball in Europe.
Purewal commented: "Our strategy is to grow the sport. It’s about reimagining baseball and taking it to a new audience, and that takes time to do. It’s around framing baseball in a way so that people who don’t know about it can still access it."