Baseball United signs historic partnership to bring game to Saudi Arabia

The Saudi federation to host its league and include rights to launch Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam franchises

Baseball United is expanding its operations across the Middle East. Photo: Baseball United
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Baseball United has announced a historic partnership deal with the Saudi Baseball and Softball Federation (SBSF) that provides them an unlimited term to host professional league and tournaments in the kingdom.

It includes rights to new Baseball United franchises representing Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam – three of the kingdom’s largest cities, marking professional baseball's first foray into Saudi Arabia.

“This is a monumental day for the sport of baseball,” Kash Shaikh, chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Baseball United, said.

“Saudi Arabia is setting the pace for sports development, investment, and growth in the kingdom and beyond, and we are truly honoured to now include baseball within those ambitious plans.

“This agreement significantly elevates Baseball United’s standing and footprint within the region, and, just as importantly, enables us to work at the grassroots level to help grow the game in the Middle East’s largest country.

“We will also now 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.”

Baseball United is the first professional baseball league focused on the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, and as part of the agreement, they will open a subsidiary in Saudi Arabia and partner with the SBSF to develop baseball in the kingdom.

It includes promoting the game across the region, developing local talent in Saudi Arabia, and designing training programmes and curriculums for players, coaches, and umpires at both the amateur and professional levels.

In addition, Baseball United will look to host future tournaments and league games in Saudi Arabia, appealing to the estimated 1.5 million baseball fans already in the country.

Formed in 2019, the SBSF is the youngest baseball federation in the world. Over the past five years, the federation has made significant inroads in developing the foundational infrastructure necessary to expand the game in the country.

The SBSF will now partner with Baseball United to develop its national team, with aims to compete in upcoming World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) tournaments.

The SBSF works in concert with Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia's roadmap for economic diversification, global engagement, and enhanced quality of life.

“On behalf of our federation, I am honoured to welcome Baseball United to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Nayef bin Muhammad bin Abdul Mohsen bin Humaid, chairman of SBSF.

“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 to also reach international horizons and achievements.

“This partnership with Baseball United will help fuel that vision, and it will elevate the calibre of players, events, and attention for the sport here in Saudi Arabia. We are looking forward to many years of prosperity with Kash Shaikh and the entire Baseball United team.”

Baseball United began play in Dubai last November with its inaugural All-Star Showcase, the first professional baseball games in the history of the region. The event was broadcast in 127 countries, reaching what it said was an 200 million households.

Updated: March 07, 2024, 8:19 AM