While the NFL are ruining the pitches of Wembley, Major League Baseball is brought to the UK in less destructive fashion, by the international lifestyle brand that is New Era. Their flagship store in Soho has had a temporary facelift, hiding away the NFL related goods and highlighting their historic and official connection with MLB. There are hundreds of MLB caps on display, as well as little fact boards relating to the MLB hall of fame and its illustrious history.

New Era's MLB Dugout

The MLB dugout has taken over their top floor, whilst not exactly replicating a dugout, the feel is supposed to be very similar to it. This isn’t all about the looks though, as it has been furnished with a few extras allowing customers to interact with the brand and MLB in a new and unique way. Firstly there is the giant twitter ball in the wall. A large flat screen displays a revolving and interactive baseball which is pricked with pictures of twitter user’s and their tweets containing the specific hashtags: #MLBDugout #NewEraCap and #MLB_Europe. This is a novel way to display the twittersphere (no pun intended), and is good fun to play with, however the inability to tweet directly from it is somewhat disappointing.

Next to the twitter-ball-wall is a video game competition. Funnily enough this is MLB 2011 and its all about your score. This is going to be running until Nov 7th, with a leader board maintained in store. The person topping this at the end will receive the awesome prize of a trip to a Major League Baseball game in America to experience the game first hand, and not just through their PS3. This is pretty quick and easy, and with the prize on offer, if you’re in the area, its worth just popping by to have a swing!

For those of us who are no good with the PS3 move controllers and would rather grip a proper bat, there is also a green screen type photobooth. Take your pick from a number of different teams’ jerseys, hats and helmets then get your hands around the bat and pose for a photo. Whilst it obviously is inferior to stepping out in a real stadium, its a good bit of fun, and the results can be quite impressive if you get to tweaking them a little. The resultant photo can be posted directly to your Facebook wall of sent to you via email in the form of a baseball card.

This is all a bit of good fun and is only in store for a few weeks. Its worth getting down there to check it out for yourself, and if your thinking of catching a bit of MLB action, this is an immersive and interactive experience to enjoy whilst they screen some of the games. Best not forget that this is actually a shop and New Era sell their caps and sporting goods, so don’t rock up with a six-pack to settle down for the game!




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