About 4 minutes reading time.

Baseball United Reaches Agreement With Saudi Baseball and Softball Federation to Bring Teams to Kingdom

 Conor Liguori  |    Mar 6th, 2024 4:00pm EST
Baseball United CEO Kash Shaikh and the Saudi Baseball and Softball Federation’s Nayef bin Muhammad Abdul Mohsen bin Humaid. (Photo Courtesy of Baseball United.)

Baseball United CEO Kash Shaikh and the Saudi Baseball and Softball Federation’s Nayef bin Muhammad Abdul Mohsen bin Humaid. (Photo Courtesy of Baseball United.)

Baseball United, the first professional baseball league based in the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent, announced Tuesday that it has agreed to a new partnership with the Saudi Baseball and Softball Confederation, which was established in 2019.

The agreement allows Baseball United to host tournaments and other events in Saudi Arabia and to organize three new professional Baseball United baseball franchises in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. The three new organizations will be the first professional baseball teams in Saudi Arabia, and BU reports the plan is to reveal team names and logos later this year.

Baseball United previously partnered with the Pakistan Baseball Federation to organize the West Asia edition of the 2023 Asian Baseball Cup in Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistan is the No. 38 ranked nation in the World Baseball Softball rankings, but Saudi Arabia is not ranked.

Adding three franchises from Saudi Arabia would make seven total teams in Baseball United and help grow the sport in the country. Baseball United plans to open a subsidiary in Saudi Arabia and design training programs for players, coaches, and umpires.

The Saudi Baseball and Softball Federations’ main goals with the agreement are to develop the sport of baseball in the country, with hopes of the national team competing in future World Baseball Softball Confederation tournaments.

“On behalf of the Saudi Baseball and Softball Federation, I am honored to welcome Baseball United to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” SBSF Chairman Nayef bin Muhammad Abdul Mohsen bin Humaid told BaseballUnited.com.

“Operating under the leadership of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, the SBSF has worked to build and inspire a local community that loves and practices baseball and softball within Saudi Arabia, with aspirations also to reach international horizons and achievements,” the SBSF Chairman said. “This partnership with Baseball United will help fuel that vision, and it will help elevate the caliber of players, events, and attention for the sport here in Saudi Arabia. We are looking forward to many years of prosperity with Mr. Kash Shaikh and the entire Baseball United team.”

Kash Shaikh, Baseball United president, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, said in a press release on Tuesday that the league and its members are honored to have this partnership with the SBSF.

“This is a monumental day for the sport of baseball,” Shaikh said in the press release. “Saudi Arabia is setting the pace for sports development, investment, and growth in the Kingdom and beyond, and we are truly honored to include baseball within those ambitious plans now.” In the press release, Shaikh confirmed Baseball United would expand with franchises in Saudi Arabia.

“We will now also expand our BU franchises into Saudi Arabia, building local fanbases in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam and helping to inspire more young people to fall in love with the game,” Shaikh said in the release. “I am immensely grateful to the Saudi Baseball and Softball Federation and its visionary leadership team for their partnership and support.”

The four franchises in Baseball United are the Mumbai Cobras, Karachi Monarchs, Dubai Wolves, and Abu Dhabi Falcons. Top players selected in the inaugural Baseball United draft participated in the Baseball United Showcase this past November at Dubai International Stadium. Selected players were split into two All-Star teams, East and West, and played two games on back-to-back days.

The Baseball United Showcase was broadcast in 127 countries, reaching 200 million households worldwide (per Baseball United). The league plans to play its inaugural season later this year but has yet to announce team schedules.

Current former and current Major League Baseball players who are co-owners with Baseball United include Barry Larkin, Mariano Rivera, Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Felix Hernandez, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Robinson Chirinos, Ryan Howard, Bartolo Colon, Matt Barnes, Shane Victorino, Luis Severino, Albert Pujols, Jair Jurrjens, Andrelton Simmons, and Didi Gregorius.