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MLB to open flagship retail store in New York

Major League Baseball next summer will get its own dedicated retail shop in New York as part of a broader, planned move of its league headquarters.

The forthcoming MLB Flagship Store will open in summer 2020 at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, the building in midtown Manhattan across the street from Radio City Music Hall and previously known as the Time-Life Building for its development and prior history as the headquarters of Henry Luce’s publishing empire.

The building, now owned by the Rockefeller Group, is being completely renovated in a massive $600m (€544m) project. And MLB will open a two-floor, 17,000-square-foot store as part of a larger lease encompassing more than 300,000 square feet, and represent the league’s first permanent retail location in the US.

The store is being developed with Legends, the hospitality and sales group co-owned by the New York Yankees, and Legends Project Development will oversee the design and construction of the new retail space. The store itself will feature products from all 30 MLB teams, historical franchises, and authenticated game-used memorabilia.

“This new retail location in a busy area of Manhattan gives us another unique way to market our players and teams and help continue to grow the sport,” said Tony Petitti, MLB deputy commissioner, business and media.

The MLB Flagship Store will start at ground level and have an adjacent courtyard where the league will able to stage marketing activations for key events on its calendar such as Opening Day, the All-Star Game, and the postseason. 

“Building an iconic retail footprint in the United States’ most dynamic city, celebrating America’s greatest pastime, is a significant moment for our company,” said Shervin Mirhashemi, Legends’ president and chief executive.

MLB’s overall move of its headquarters, tentatively set for late this year, will merge league operations that were previously split for most of the past two decades between 245 Park Avenue in New York, and what was the MLB Advanced Media headquarters and baseball’s instant replay operations center southwest of there in Chelsea Market. MLB Network’s studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, will remain active.

New York is no stranger to dedicated retail stores operated by sports leagues under their brands, as the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League have each run their own flagship stores there for many years, and the National Football League has operated more temporary pop-up locations.