Report: MLB hoping to play in London in '17

Commissioner Manfred tells AP that league is 'very interested in playing there'

Report: MLB hoping to play in London in '17

Major League Baseball hopes to play its first regular-season games in London in 2017, Commissioner Rob Manfred said in an interview with The Associated Press.

MLB is discussing using the Olympic Stadium as a possible venue. The baseball season has started in a non-traditional market abroad seven times, most recently when the Dodgers and D-backs began the 2014 season in Sydney, Australia. However, Manfred expects any London games to be part of a midseason trip.

"We are very interested in playing there, and we're working hard on that one," said Manfred as part of an interview on his first anniversary as Commissioner. "I don't think it will be an opener because of the weather issues. It would be later in the season."

The baseball regular season has opened in Monterrey, Mexico (1999) and San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001) and four times in Tokyo, Japan ('00, '04, '08, '12). Regular-season games in London have been a staple of the National Football League since 2007 as part of its International Series.

All regular-season baseball games were played in the United States and Canada in 2015, but Manfred considers developing the game internationally as one of his top priorities as Commissioner. He told The AP that he ranked MLB's agreement to stream games in China among his top accomplishments in his first year.

But as for which teams could potentially participate in the first games in London, Manfred remained mum.

"We haven't really settled on teams, and I don't want to speculate about that," he said. "Obviously, we want to make as good a first impression in Europe as we possibly can."

Jamal Collier is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.