Tuesday 19 September 2023, 08:30

FIFA President meets MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred in New York

  • Gianni Infantino and head of Major League Baseball hold fruitful discussions in New York

  • FIFA President hears about MLB’s in-stadium innovations

  • Both sports recognise opportunity to exchange operational know-how

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has sat down to discuss the FIFA World Cup 2026™️ and its impact on the North American sports world with Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Robert Manfred. The FIFA World Cup 2026™️ will be historic as it will be the first expanded to 48 teams, as well as being the maiden tournament hosted by three countries, namely Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The latter hosted the 1994 edition on its own, but with its neighbours also now getting the chance to stage some of the 104 matches, more fans than ever will have an opportunity to experience the magic of a FIFA World Cup™️ for themselves during June-July 2026. “It was a pleasure meeting Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred to discuss the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2026 and exchange know-how on the operations of our respective sports,” said the FIFA President. “We spoke about employing technology to enhance fan experience and I highlighted FIFA's innovative technological approach that helped to deliver the greatest-ever edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup earlier this year.”

Mr Infantino congratulated Mr Manfred on the recent extension of his contract at the head of the MLB through to 2029. The FIFA President and the MLB Commissioner also discussed the technological innovations the MLB has recently introduced, notably the upgrades to the Statcast platform now employed in the current season. Five of the 12 stat-dedicated cameras covering MLB games have been upgraded to high frame rate devices, enabling the league to provide fans with new bat and biomechanics tracking output, bringing baseball lovers even closer to events on the field. In 2026, FIFA hopes to make supporters - whether inside the stadium or watching elsewhere across the world - feel they are in the thick of the action, using technology to help enhance their experience and to attract more people to the game.