Head of MLB UK — Charlie Hill — talks to Bat Flips and Nerds

This past week, John McGee sat down to talk with the head of MLB UK, Charlie Hill, to answer some burning questions about the future of Major League Baseball in the UK.

Below are some of the key points from the interview, for the full podcast, please go check it out on Blog Talk Radio, here.

We hope you enjoy the interview and have some of those questions you had answered.

Range of MLB UK

Charlie is the head of MLB UK, they are part of a team that are looking to expand the game in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India. Now go check a map, that’s a bucket load of different countries, territories, cultures, backgrounds and they way the people act in a social manner. They are really busy and they are a fairly small team (currently three, but expanding as we type).

2019 Games in the UK

The games are looking very likely, Charlie didn’t go on to say who or when, but he said confidence was very high.

Festivals of Baseball

When the games hit international shores, the plan is to make sure it isn’t a flash and bang of “Here’s the games, now we’re off”. There will be a buildup, a buzz generated, food, music and culture all related to the teams coming over and baseball as a whole. The plan is to have the game of baseball and all the surrounding elements celebrated, not just the games played.

Events year round

As said previously, the events leading up to the games will be generating buzz, but there will also be events after the games have been and gone to continue the legacy of the event and continue to interact with the fan base.

Terrestrial TV & Radio

One of the big points from the Bat Flips and Nerds Great British and Irish Baseball Fan Survey was the lack of coverage the game has in the UK. Charlie addresses this, saying they are working with some TV networks/outlets to ensure the free-to-air market receives some baseball, to build that fan base.

Fan Parties/Events

Charlie absolutely loves these events that have been setup by the likes of ourselves, BaseballByCommittee and Sandy Shipley to name a few. He said he admires the community so much for coming together and taking the time to organise these events and continue to work on spreading the word of the game. He also said the team are continuing to listen and research ideas for future events involving the community.

Free Beer @ London Event

With the London Opening Day event happening at Belushi’s London Bridge in the Dugout Bar on the 1st April, Charlie mentioned the MLB UK team are buying the first round of drinks for those attending. He said it’s something they wanted to do to show how much they appreciated the event and would like to encourage more. If you’re not willing to attend an event where there are free drinks, you’re a lost cause.

The podcast was only 36 minutes long, but it was so revealing as to what MLB UK have been doing and what they plan next. Charlie wanted to make sure he spoke on the podcast when he had something to say, hence the delay until now. He’s had something to say and we wanted to listen.

The bottom line is, we should, must and have to continue to support them and feed them what we want as a community and any ideas we have. They are listening. Charlie spends the whole interview using words like community, team, we, research, listen, investigate, etc. There is real thirst for teamwork on this, they aren’t here to impose their ideas and demand we enjoy it. MLB UK want this to succeed, it’s within their interests to make sure it does.

This interview shows they most certainly are busy, very busy but they are listening. With giant wide open ears for what you want and how you want to do it.

Enjoy the interview.

One comment

  1. Emerging baseball markets can all learn a lot from each other and MLB UK has some exciting plans. In Australia the 2014 Sydney MLB Opening Series created a short but brilliant buzz and the World Baseball Classic Qualifier Series in Sydney in 2016 also attracted some extra attention. What was lacking was continuity and these great somewhat recent events stood alone too much. I for one expected a spike in Australian Baseball League interest following each event and this didn’t happen. I’m certainly grateful we have the ABL, yet I genuinely believed there would be bumper crowds at least for each opening home series of the 2014-15 season. A big bout of quiet immediately followed the 2014 Sydney MLB Opening Series and given the next ABL season was seven months away that was quite a gap in time, and likewise when the WBC Qualifier was played in 2016. It’s impressive MLB UK has flagged ongoing momentum from big events and also identified a number of ways to engage and introduce people to baseball. I’m pleased regular baseball visibility was discussed because in Australia you need to know where to find baseball, and all emerging baseball markets could do more to better engage with for example people that inadvertently see a local park league game. For those of us in these emerging markets we need to see ourselves individually as baseball ambassadors, and we can all certainly do our bit to campaign for baseball. This blog is a wonderful credit to all those that contribute to it! Well done, team!

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