© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

03/19/08 4:00 PM ET

MLB truly international

Baseball has expanded reach globally over decades

On Opening Day 2007, more than 46 percent of players in Major League Baseball organizations were born outside of the 50 United States, hailing from 35 countries and territories around the world. As the game grows increasingly popular, MLB continues to expand and develop its initiatives to bring the MLB brand to fans across the globe.

Focusing on the worldwide growth of baseball through broadcasting, special events, market development, licensing and sponsorship, MLB International is supported by offices in Beijing, New York, London, Sydney and Tokyo.

• Opening Day 2007: a record-high 246 foreign-born players on the 30 Major League club rosters (29 percent) representing 15 countries and territories. This indicates an increase of 8.7 percent over the past 10 years (20.3 percent on Opening Day 1998).

• 2007 postseason (LDS through WS) rosters included 65 foreign-born players from 10 different countries. The Dominican Republic leads with 26 players represented, Venezuela is second with 16, followed by Puerto Rico (seven), Japan (five), Canada and Panama (three), Cuba (two) and Colombia, Mexico and Chinese Taipei (one).

• 2007 All-Star Game rosters featured 23 foreign-born players from six countries and territories

From developing multiple virtual signage feeds at the inaugural World Baseball Classic to producing the World Series in High Definition, MLB is on the cutting edge of broadcast technology.

• In 2007 MLB International transmitted more than 840 MLB games worldwide to 229 countries and territories and in 13 languages.

• MLB was the first league to feature multiple virtual signs during games, allowing MLB to cater to five unique markets at a time (2006 Feeds: Latin America/Global, Japan, Canada and Mexico) and expand opportunities for our 35 virtual advertisers.

• More than 50 broadcast partners worldwide.

EVENTS Major League Baseball is committed to introducing the game at all levels, including providing a showcase for the best baseball talent from all over the world. From Opening Series in Mexico to Spring Training games in Venezuela to All-Star exhibitions in Japan, MLB has dramatically expanded its platform for international events.

In 2008 MLB made history by bringing the first-ever MLB games to China when the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres compete in an exhibition series at the Wukesong Baseball Field in Beijing. The World Series champion Boston Red Sox will open the season against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 25, the third time the MLB regular season has opened in Tokyo.

World Baseball Classic
• Of the 486 players to participate, 235 (48 percent) came from MLB organizations

• More than 740,000 fans from 48 states and 15 countries attended

• Broadcast by 48 organizations in 205 countries and territories and in seven languages

Japan All-Star Series
• In 2006, the MLB All-Stars became the first team to sweep the series since it began in 1986

• Almost 175,000 fans attended the five games in Tokyo (three), Osaka (one) and Fukuoka (one)

• MLB and NPB All-Stars have competed against each other in 10 All-Star Series

Opening Series
• The Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres made history on April 4, 1999, when they played the first MLB Opening Day outside of the United States and Canada, in Monterrey, Mexico.

• MLB clubs have played five Opening Series outside of the United States and Canada since 1999:
-- 1999 Monterrey, Mexico: Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres
-- 2000 Tokyo: New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs
-- 2001 San Juan, Puerto Rico Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays
-- 2004 Tokyo: Tampa Bay Devil Rays vs. New York Yankees
-- 2008 Tokyo: Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland Athletics

Regular-season Games
• In 1996, the first regular-season MLB games were played outside of the United States and Canada. The New York Mets and San Diego Padres traveled to Monterrey, Mexico, for a mid-August series (16-18) where more than 67,000 fans turned out to see Major League clubs competing.

• In 2003, the Montreal Expos played 22 home games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, making one of Baseball's international teams even more global. In the franchise's last season (2004) as the Montreal Expos before relocating to Washington, D.C. (Nationals), the team played 21 home games at Hiram Bithorn.

Spring Training games
• In March 1999, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers took Spring Training games to the warm-weather climate of Hermosillo, Mexico, to compete in the first international preseason games.

• Since 1999, Spring Training games have been played in Beijing (2008); Hermosillo, Mexico, (1999-2003); Havana (1999); Caracas, Venezuela (2000); Tokyo (2000, 2004); Valencia, Venezuela (2001); Culiacan, Mexico (2001); Mexico City (2001, 2003, 2004); and San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001).

Roberto Clemente Series
• The Series was played from 1976-84 and 1987-89 (two games each year) in San Juan and Bayamon, Puerto Rico

• Proceeds from the games were donated to the Roberto Clemente Sports City

• Matchups:
-- 1989 Texas-Chicago (AL)
-- 1988 Montreal-Los Angeles (NL)
-- 1987 Toronto-Pittsburgh (rainout)
-- 1984 Atlanta-Cincinnati
-- 1983 Chicago (AL)-Minnesota
-- 1982 Houston-Baltimore
-- 1981 Kansas City-Texas
-- 1980 Detroit-St. Louis
-- 1979 New York (NL)-Pittsburgh
-- 1978 Boston-Pittsburgh
-- 1977 Pittsburgh-Philadelphia (San Juan only)
-- 1976 New York (NL)-Pittsburgh (San Juan only)

Through development programs in more than 60 countries, MLB International actively supports the growth of baseball. From introducing the game to kids through grassroots initiative, to targeting elite coaches and players for long term, sustained development, MLB is dedicated to growing the game around the world.

MLB's international licensing business continued to grow throughout 2007, driven by a surge in the popularity of American fashion, increased penetration across Europe and a steady flow of international players into MLB. Local advertising programs and promotions support an expanded line of product offerings in new retail channels, enabling MLB to reach more consumers.

• An increase of more than 15% of sales in 2007 (compared to 2006).

• Sales have nearly doubled worldwide over the last five years.

MLB International's sponsorship business continues to grow with every year. More than 50 sponsors and promotional partners support programs and events throughout Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada.

STAFF MLB now has established presences in five cities worldwide: New York (Central Office and the Americas), Sydney (Australia and Oceania), London (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Tokyo (Japan and Asia) and Beijing (China).

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.