Baseball United advances launch plans with Dubai, Abu Dhabi franchises

Featured image credit: Baseball United

Baseball United, the first-ever professional baseball league focused on the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, has revealed Dubai and Abu Dhabi franchises as the latest additions to its debut event at Dubai International Stadium.

The Dubai Wolves and Abu Dhabi Falcons are the first-ever professional baseball franchises in the history of the GCC region. They will compete against the Mumbai Cobras, announced as the first Baseball United team back in May, and the Karachi Monarchs in the league’s Dubai Showcase this November at Dubai International Stadium. 

The new franchises come after Baseball United in June claimed 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.

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 organising all aspects of its league, including facilitating stadium partnerships and leading all marketing and operational activities. ECB will handle government-focused communication, regulations, and policy work.

“The partnerships that we continue to forge here in the UAE have given us the momentum and support necessary to build this league the right way,” said John Miedreich, executive vice-president of baseball operations, vice-chairman of the board, and co-owner of Baseball United.

“We are grateful to all the people and organisations who have joined us on this pursuit, and we’re looking forward to even more partners teaming with us in the future.”

Kash Shaikh, president, CEO, chairman of the board, and majority owner of Baseball United, added: “We started this journey nearly two years ago. The barriers to entry were incredibly challenging. The difficulty level is high. And this dream of ours will most definitely not be easy. But today (Thursday) was one of those magical reminders that if we keep believing, keep building, and keep our focus on our current and future fans, we can help make baseball the region’s next great sport.”

Baseball United’s ownership group includes business leaders and baseball legends such as Mariano Rivera, Barry Larkin, Adrián Beltré, and Felix Hernandez.

The Dubai and Abu Dhabi franchise announcements come nearly a year on from Dubai International Stadium being named as the host venue for the inaugural showcase of what was then named the United International Baseball League (UIBL).

The UIBL Inaugural Showcase was originally due to take place in February and March this year. However, UIBL reconstituted itself in November with a new name, Baseball United, leadership and ownership structure.