Dodgers fans are gearing up for the start of spring training. As anticipation builds for the start of the next MLB preseason, there have been plenty of updates from the league for fans to sink their teeth into. Like the NFL, the MLB seems to have major plans abroad—and the Dodgers are a significant part of that push.
That’s because the Dodgers have one of the most developed international fan bases of any team. Unlike the NFL, which is also amid an international expansion scheme, baseball does well abroad. In particular, Latin America, the Caribbean, and East Asia are all home to competitive leagues that see top players regularly signed on the MLB’s international signing period.
And for thousands of baseball fans, there’s no franchise better than the Dodgers. Fandom aside, the Dodgers benefit internationally from being one of the MLB’s leading teams. At the moment, MLB betting sites are focused on the bi-coastal rivals, the Dodgers and the Yankees, to compete for next year’s World Series.
The Dodgers are the favorites to win the National League outright, while the Yankees are slated to take the American League. With two of the US’s most dynastic teams pitted against one another, the league offers baseball fans unmatched drama and high-stakes competition—enough that both teams are building massive fandoms internationally.
But they aren’t the only ones. As the MLB’s updated international marketing rights start to curry interest abroad, which teams will compete with the Dodgers to become North America’s most-loved squad?
International Marketing Rights
Rewind to last year’s 99-day lockout debacle. The stalemate between the MLB, its MLBPA, and its owners were chalked up to financial concerns following 2020’s myriad of issues and minor changes to how the game is played internally and tremendously. But there was another significant consideration behind the MLB’s new Basic Agreement: international expansion.
Once again, let’s point back to the NFL’s expansion scheme. The MLB closely mirrored its marketing rights plan, which allowed all 32 baseball teams to submit proposals for up to three international markets they wanted to ‘claim.’ Only specific teams would land those markets to prevent competition for new fans.
While it’s unclear which teams will be allocated to which markets, there’s a lot of strategy behind the scenes. For example, the Houston Astros will likely target Venezuela thanks to the adoration of Jose Altuve. And if that’s the case, then the Dodgers’ options are nearly endless.
Dodgers Top the List for International Games
While marketing rights are being hashed out, the MLB has one clear focus: signing contracts to pencil in the next five years of international games. So far, London games have been confirmed for 2023, 2024, and 2026. The first game scheduled will be the Cardinals-Cubs faceoff, which had originally been scheduled for 2020.
However, the Dodgers might be the 2024 selection—in either London or Paris, where the MLB will expand next. According to Reuters, the Dodgers are a favorite for both locations. And it all points back to the factors we mentioned above: the Dodgers are a competitive and successful team, which lends well for building a massive and dedicated fanbase.
The Dodgers have already played regular-season games in countries like Australia and Mexico. In Australia, the Dodgers swept a two-game series against the Diamondbacks in front of a crowd of close to 40,000.
Dodgers vs. Yankees: A Lids Case Study
Fandom can be challenging to measure. Today, most fanbases are tallied by the number of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter likes and follows. Other times, a fanbase might be quantified by how well they cheer on their team and follow them on the road. Internationally, fans are also counted in dollars.
The MLB does well when it comes to global merchandising. In particular, its Lids baseball hats and jerseys are a primary export—and the Dodgers are a perennial favorite. While the Yankees outperform the Dodgers in sales, no current Yankees players are listed on their jerseys. Meanwhile, the most popular jersey is Mookie Betts, followed closely by Cody Bellinger.