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Baseball stars line up to invest in Dubai league

Former MLB star Hanley Ramirez is one of the investors in Baseball United apardavila/Creative Commons
Former MLB star Hanley Ramirez is involved in Baseball United
  • Owners hail All-Star investors
  • Dubai launch event in November
  • Eight teams for first season

Baseball United, the first professional baseball league focused on the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, has amassed a roster of investors before the Dubai league’s launch in November.

Between them the investors boast a combined 222 Major League Baseball (MLB) seasons, 70 All-Star games and 14 World Series Championships.

The line-up of former MLB stars includes second baseman Robinson Cano as well as three-time All-Star and former batting champion Hanley Ramirez; All-Star and World Series Champion Matt Barnes; and four-time All-Star and former Cy Young Winner Bartolo Colon.

They join early investors including Barry Larkin, Mariano Rivera, Felix Hernandez and Nick Swisher.

Baseball United will launch with an event on November 10-12 hosted at Dubai International Stadium.

Its first four franchises – including the Mumbai Cobras, Karachi Monarchs, Abu Dhabi Falcons and Dubai Wolves – will each play two games over the three-day period.

The first full season next year will see the number of franchises double to eight with 65 matches planned. At least half will take place in Dubai with the remainder in Abu Dhabi and Doha, with two of the 2022 World Cup stadiums eyed up as potential venues.

There are 53 million avid baseball fans in India, 12.5 million in Pakistan, 1.5 million in Saudi Arabia and 800,000 in the UAE, according to Baseball United’s chairman, CEO and majority owner Kash Shaikh.