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Baseball United to launch Saudi franchises

Former Chicago Cubs player Andrelton Simmons, pictured here in 2022, is one of Baseball United's co-owners. The company will launch franchises in three Saudi cities USA Today Sports via Reuters Connect
Former Chicago Cubs player Andrelton Simmons, pictured here at bat in 2022, is one of Baseball United's co-owners. The company will launch franchises in three Saudi cities
  • New partnership agreed
  • Three new pro teams
  • 1.5m Saudi baseball fans

Professional baseball teams are to be launched in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam as part of plans by Baseball United to expand into Saudi Arabia.

Baseball United was unveiled in August last year with ambitious proposals to launch the first professional baseball league in the Middle East, focusing initially on matches in the UAE, then Qatar, with plans to enter Saudi Arabia in 2025.

It was announced this week that a partnership agreement has been struck between Baseball United and the Saudi Baseball and Softball Federation (SBSF).

Baseball United will open a subsidiary in the kingdom and partner with the SBSF to promote baseball in the country, including talent development, curriculum design, coach/umpire training and overall marketing and promotion of the game.

“This is a massive milestone for our two organisations, a monumental day for baseball, and a huge win for baseball fans around the world,” said Kash Shaikh, president and majority owner of Baseball United.

Baseball United will work in tandem with SBSF to develop the national team with hopes of competing in the upcoming World Baseball Softball Confederation tournaments.

The venture is being funded by Shaikh and “a group of carefully selected entrepreneurs and baseball legends” from the US.

Baseball United was originally formed with the launch of four franchises: Dubai Wolves, Abu Dhabi Falcons, Mumbai Cobras and Karachi Monarchs. The quartet were due to play over a launch weekend in November, but this was subsequently cancelled and an all-star event was held over two days instead.

According to figures from Shaikh, there are 53 million baseball fans in India, 12.5 million in Pakistan, 1.5 million in Saudi Arabia and 800,000 in the UAE.

“Baseball United now has a foundational partner to help us expand the game into the Middle East’s largest country,” said Shaikh.

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