The NBA and the NFL have previously hosted games in the UK, but in the summer of 2019, the London Stadium in the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park pitched up to be the first venue in Europe to stage Major League Baseball (MLB).
First Travel Solutions were contracted to provide team, VIP and spectator transport for the London Series.
This was more than just providing coaches and park and ride solutions and involved the procurement and management of all sorts of vehicles from minibuses, to MPVs to executive cars. The operation was not just for event days but encompassed the proceeding build and after event takedown periods.
The games (June 29 and 30th) themselves were extremely high profile as it was between two of the biggest rivals in American baseball and two of the most iconic teams in world sport in the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
The eyes of the world were on London and the UK to see if it could successfully host such a famous American sporting tradition.
The organisers had very specific and high-end vehicle specifications and FTS had to fulfil these requirements in the peak holiday season in the UK.
Recognising the high-profile nature of the operation and the worldwide eyes on the event, and indeed the organisers want to prove the viability of future MLB matches, FTS deployed senior management teams who worked intensely with the client for months in advance of the games and throughout the series.
Over the 8 days of event operation, FTS successfully delivered nearly 400 different ‘transport’ journeys. This involved procuring and managing 87 different vehicles from team coaches, to MPVs to executive coaches and saloon cars.
FTS onsite control team monitored and tracked every vehicle, trained 22 drivers and staff to the highest standard, deployed co-ordinators at the main venue and auxiliary locations and adapted the operation in terms of time management as one of the games turned out to be the second longest in MLB history.
FTS smashed the baseball contract out of the park. Every specified journey requirement was met with 100% of journeys being completed to programme. There was not a single late journey and organisers reported their satisfaction both with the service provisions and the standard of vehicles procured.
A second London Series will take place in 2020.