Fans and partners of Major League Baseball (MLB) in Mexico will enjoy a variety of new local initiatives during the 2016 Championship Season. Major League Baseball Mexico, which will be headquartered in Mexico City, will direct league efforts to embrace local fans and partners of baseball. Rodrigo Fernández, MLB Mexico's first employee, will serve as Managing Director. Televisa and MLB have renewed their longstanding partnership and will broadcast a new national MLB Game of the Week each Saturday afternoon of the Championship Season. And the celebration of this weekend's Mexico City Series, featuring two games between the San Diego Padres and Houston Astros at Mexico City's Estadio Fray Nano, will include the MLB Festival in Zócalo Square.
As Managing Director of the first MLB office in Mexico, Fernández will manage local business and market development. Before joining MLB, Fernández served as Vice President & General Manager for World Wrestling Entertainment's Latin American operations. He has also worked for Fox International in Latin America and for Sony Pictures and The Walt Disney Corporation in business development and strategy roles. Mexico City will be the sixth MLB office outside the United States, joining Beijing, London, Santo Domingo, Sydney and Tokyo.
Televisa, long-time MLB broadcast partner in Mexico, will bring baseball to fans across the country with an extended broadcast agreement through 2018. The centerpiece of this new relationship is a national MLB Game of the Week, which will air each Saturday afternoon of the Championship Season. Televisa will also broadcast games on Monday nights, at least one game on either Tuesday or Thursday night on their all-sports channel Televisa Deportes Network (TDN), and the MLB All-Star Game and Postseason including the World Series. Televisa is the exclusive Mexican broadcast partner for the 2016 Mexico City Series.
In conjunction with the Mexico City Series, MLB and the Mexico City Sports Ministry will bring the MLB Festival to Zócalo Square in downtown Mexico City March 25, 26 and 27. The event, which is free of charge and will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day, will feature a full-sized baseball field in the square where youth clinics will be held throughout the weekend. Fans attending the festival will experience baseball through interactive challenges and attractions. Mexican fans will also have the opportunity to purchase a variety of MLB products including caps from New Era, the official on-field cap supplier of MLB, and apparel from Majestic Athletic, the official on-field uniform supplier of MLB. The MLB Festival visited Monterrey, Mexico in September 2005. Its prior stops include Canada, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Puerto Rico and Taiwan.
"Commissioner Manfred's vision for globalizing baseball cannot become a reality without localizing MLB in Mexico," said Chris Park, Senior Vice President, Growth, Strategy and International, Major League Baseball. "Our local fans and partners are part of our core community, and Rodrigo Fernández understands how best to serve them. The Mexico City Series, MLB Festival at Zócalo, and Televisa's MLB Game of the Week open what will be a very active inaugural year for MLB Mexico."
"We welcome Major League Baseball's establishment of an official office in Mexico City," said Horacio de la Vega Flores, Director General of the Mexico City Sports Institute. "The establishment of this office will create new jobs, new strategic partnerships and new opportunities for youth across Mexico to learn and play baseball. With this announcement, Mexico City is pleased to join the list of outstanding cities that can count MLB as a partner.
The Spring Training games, which are the first in Mexico City since 2004, come just a week after Qualifier 2 of the World Baseball Classic was held in Mexicali from March 17 to 20. Mexico defeated the Czech Republic (2-1) and then beat Nicaragua twice (11-0 and 12-1) to advance to the World Baseball Classic tournament in March 2017.
The two-game Mexico City Series will be the first MLB games at Fray Nano, which is the home of the Diablos Rojos del Mexico. Foro Sol, the previous home of the Diablos Rojos, hosted MLB Spring Training games in 2001, 2003 and 2004, as well as opening round action for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.