DUBAI: Baseball United, the first professional baseball league focused on the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent, has announced an exclusive partnership with Pakistan Federation Baseball.
The agreement will enable strategic integration of the two organization’s growth plans, with a focus on player development, national team training, fan experience, community outreach, global publicity, and sponsorship.
Pakistan Federation Baseball is internationally recognized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation, and the Pakistan national baseball team is the highest ranked of any team in the region (No.38).
Pakistan Federation Baseball was founded by Syed Khawar Shah in 1992 and has grown into the preeminent baseball federation within South Asia over the last three decades. Today, the federation is led by Khawar Shah’s son, Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, who also serves as the vice president of the Baseball Federation of Asia.
Pakistan baseball has won 10 championships in tournaments across Asia over the last 15 years, including most recently at the West Asia Cup, presented by Baseball United, in Islamabad, Pakistan in January this year.
“We are honored to partner with Pakistan Federation Baseball and Mr. Syed Shah to help grow the game of baseball in Pakistan, and to help create more opportunities for young people across the country,” said Kash Shaikh, president, CEO and co-owner of Baseball United.
“Pakistan has created one of the most competitive and successful programs within Asia, and we are looking forward to helping them continue their growth at both the grassroots and national team levels. We built a strong foundation for partnership earlier this year with our tournament in Islamabad, and now we believe we can make an even greater impact in Pakistan and beyond.”
Baseball United began its grassroots work within the region earlier this year, sponsoring and broadcasting the West Asia Cup in Islamabad, Pakistan. At the conclusion of that tournament, Baseball United hosted the first-ever “Baseball United Unity Classic”, a friendly exhibition between Pakistan and India.
It was the first time in history that India’s national baseball team played against Pakistan’s national team on Pakistani soil. Moving forward, Baseball United will work to help the most talented players of Pakistani origin compete for the national team, as well as help bring sponsors and revenue to bolster Pakistan Federation Baseball’s yearly operations and impact.
“We extend our deepest and most heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Kash Shaikh and Baseball United for their exceptional leadership, unwavering support, and extraordinary vision,” said Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, president of the Pakistan Federation Baseball and a founding member of Pakistan Baseball.
“As the son of Syed Khawar Shah, the revered founder of Pakistan Baseball, words cannot express the immense joy I feel as I witness the realization of our shared dream. For over three decades, Pakistan Federation Baseball has tirelessly worked to promote and expand the game of baseball within our cherished nation. We are deeply honored to work alongside Baseball United as they establish a groundbreaking professional baseball league that will inspire young players from around the world to step onto the field and ignite a passion for the sport across Pakistan.”
In addition to Shaikh, Baseball United’s ownership group includes Major League Baseball Hall of Famer’s Barry Larkin from the Cincinnati Reds and Mariano Rivera from the New York Yankees, as well as Texas Rangers Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre, and Seattle Mariners Hall of Famer Felix Hernandez.
The league announced its first franchise, the Mumbai Cobras, earlier this month. The Cobras are also the first professional baseball franchise in the history of India and the surrounding region.
Baseball United will host its inaugural Dubai Showcase this November. The Showcase will feature the league’s first four franchises, the second of which will be announced Tuesday, May 30, 2023.