Emirates Cricket Board Awards Baseball United Official Sanctions for New Professional Baseball League
Historic agreement will enable Baseball United to host its league within the UAE for the next 15 years, and will include franchises in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Published June 22, 2023
Dubai, UAE (June 22, 2023) - Baseball United, the first-ever professional baseball league focused on the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent, announced today a historic partnership with Emirates Cricket Board (ECB). The agreement gives Baseball United a 15-year term to host its league in the UAE, which will include games and franchises in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This marks the first time in history any international organization has received such sanctions.
The partnership will allow Baseball United to help drive the commercial and community-focused growth of baseball within the UAE at the youth, amateur, and professional levels. As part of the terms, Baseball United will be responsible for organizing all aspects of its league, including facilitating stadium partnerships, scouting and signing players and coaches, driving community engagement, and leading all marketing and operational activities of the league.
ECB will handle government-focused communication, regulations, and policy work, as well as leverage its deep understanding of cricket to help advise Baseball United on relevant issues.
“In a season of significant milestones, this partnership with the ECB is our most meaningful to date,” said Kash Shaikh, President, CEO, and Co-Owner of Baseball United. “This is an unprecedented agreement that will enable both Dubai and Abu Dhabi – two of the world’s most attractive cities – the opportunity to be the launchpad for professional baseball in the Middle East. And, importantly, it ensures that Baseball United will be playing baseball here in the UAE for many years to come. We are honored for the trust shown in our organization by the ECB and its Chairman, HH Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, and we are grateful for their vision and support. We will now work alongside each other to bring the worlds of bat and ball sports together here in the UAE.”
The Middle East and South Asia is home to two billion people, one billion of whom are cricket fans. Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world, particularly amongst the fast-growing nations of the Indian Subcontinent. According to Baseball United’s research, there are over 65 million avid baseball fans within the region as well, providing a strong foundation to begin building and growing the sport within its diverse, sports-loving communities. Baseball, referred to as “America’s Pastime,” has been played professionally in the United States for nearly 150 years.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi are home to some of the world’s largest sporting events, from cricket and rugby to Formula 1 and mixed martial arts. This will be the first time that both cities will play host to professional baseball.
“Emirates Cricket Board has played a pivotal role in the growth of sport across the UAE for many years,” said Khalid Al Zarooni, Vice Chairman. “Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, ECB is proud of the reputation we’ve built and the milestones we’ve achieved. Our partnership with Baseball United is another such milestone and together we will expand the opportunities for active engagement across the UAE by introducing another premier bat and ball sport to our portfolio. As the first GCC nation to pioneer this approach, we look forward to continuing to honor the UAE on an international stage.”
Baseball United’s UAE-based league launches this November with a Showcase event hosted at Dubai International Stadium. The Showcase will include the league’s first four franchises, two representing the UAE, as well as the Mumbai Cobras and Karachi Monarchs, which were revealed in recent weeks. The Mumbai and Karachi franchises are the first professional baseball franchises in the history of India and Pakistan, respectively. The names of the UAE-based franchises will be announced at a later date.
In addition to Mr. Shaikh, Baseball United’s ownership group includes baseball legends Barry Larkin, Mariano Rivera, Adrian Beltre, and Felix Hernandez. Albert Pujols also recently joined the organization as its Global Ambassador and Executive Advisor to the CEO.
For more information on the ECB, visit emiratescricket.com.
About Baseball United
Baseball United is the first-ever professional baseball league focused on the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent, beginning play November 2023 in Dubai, UAE. Our mission is to inspire one billion new fans to fall in love with baseball. The ownership group includes award-winning business leaders and inspiring baseball legends, including Mariano Rivera, Barry Larkin, Adrián Beltré, and Felix Hernandez. In addition to our professional league, the Baseball United ecosystem spans youth development, federation partnerships, media and content production, merchandise, and non-profit outreach. With over 30 nationalities represented on our team rosters and a new suite of entertainment-based game changes, Baseball United is working to create a new future for baseball in one of the fastest growing and most culturally rich regions in the world.
Allison Baker, VP BSB Group International – firstname.lastname@example.org, 513.607.0911