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July 27, 2022

The United International Baseball League creates the first-ever professional baseball league to serve India, Pakistan, and the Middle East.

Team of global sports executives partners with Hall of Fame Baseball Icons Mariano Rivera and Barry Larkin to launch a league in Dubai.

Baseball, India

NEW YORK and DUBAI, UAE, July 25, 2022 — The United International Baseball League (UIBL) announced today its plan to bring professional baseball to India, Pakistan, and the Middle East, beginning with an Inaugural Showcase that will take place in Dubai in February 2023. In addition, the UIBL has partnered with Hall of Fame baseball legends Mariano Rivera and Barry Larkin to help build, develop and grow the league. They are two of the sport’s most iconic and decorated stars, with a combined six World Series Championships and 25 All-Star Game selections.

The Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East region are home to two billion people. More than 900 million people are fans of cricket - the world’s most popular bat and ball sport. Yet, while baseball exists in small pockets across South Asia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, there is an absence of professional leagues and a void of deep, grassroots player development expertise and infrastructure. The UIBL team is looking to change that.

“I’m very grateful to be a part of the UIBL’s exciting mission to inspire two billion new fans to fall in love with baseball,” said Rivera. He is a professional baseball’s career leader in saves and games finished and the only player ever unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame. “We believe there is an amazing opportunity to educate, inspire and entertain those cricket fans, and open their hearts to an exciting and culturally-relevant form of baseball.”

American baseball is a $13 billion business with nearly 100 million fans across the U.S. and Canada and a rabid following throughout Latin America. However, the game has yet to connect with South Asian and Middle Eastern sports fans, who collectively represent the world’s most extensive cricket fan base. For example, more than 167 million South Asia watched the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup last year - 70 million more than the Super Bowl and over 150 million more than the World Series.

“We want to honor the game, and we want to change it,” said Kanwal S. Sra, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, of the UIBL. “We’re excited to help share the beauty and heritage of the game with a part of the world that has yet to embrace it fully. And we’re also excited to do some things differently, acting on years of data, decades of research, and centuries of cultural understanding. But, most importantly, we are passionate about helping unleash the next generation of Indian, Pakistani, and Emirati sports heroes that millions of fans will be able to connect with and relate to for years to come. There’s no better place to begin this journey than Dubai, one of the most iconic cities in the world. Exceptional leaders drive Dubai with a shared vision of growth through sports and entertainment, and we are honored to partner with them.”

The UIBL will introduce new rule changes, create original gameplay concepts, and bring a more immersive viewing experience for fans at the stadium and in their home. In addition to innovations in gameplay and entertainment, the UIBL will pioneer a multi-country league format that will include players from across the world and enable international competition. The league has already begun activating its international scouting and South Asia-focused development program, with a vision to partner with exceptional local organizations to build UIBL Baseball Academies across the region.

As part of its launch, the UIBL also introduced its brand logo and design, which artistically captures the most exciting moment in baseball - the home run. Each element of the brand helps educate the region on the game and inspires the imagination of younger fans.

“Not many moments in sports measure up to the energy and excitement of a home run,” said Kash Shaikh, President and Chief Marketing Officer of the UIBL. “The crack of the bat. The roar of the crowd. The rise in the stands meets the elevation of the ball. A home run can unite a stadium with a single swing. And it’s done just that for over a century. We wanted to capture that moment and share some of that magic with a new generation of fans in South Asia and the Middle East. I can’t wait for our Dubai fans to experience it for themselves.”

Source: United International Baseball League

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 4:44 AM | Link to this Post

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