The United International Baseball League (UIBL), the first-ever professional baseball league created to serve India, Pakistan and the Middle East, announced today its partnership with Dubai Sports City and Dubai International Stadium as the official venue for the UIBL’s Inaugural Showcase from February 23 – March 5, 2023.
The venue will play host to nine games and one exhibition featuring four of the league’s initial franchises. Dubai International Stadium is an anchor of the Dubai Sports City complex, the premier multi-purpose sports development in Dubai. The stadium, which opened in 2009, has hosted several high-profile International Cricket Council (ICC) and Indian Premier League (IPL) tournaments, including last year’s IPL Final between the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders. The venue will also be home to the inaugural season of the International League T20 (ILT20), the UAE’s professional cricket league that begins play in January 2023.
“It’s an honor for our league to begin play in one of the world’s most storied stadiums,” said Kanwal S. Sra, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, of the UIBL. “Dubai International Stadium is one of the jewels of the region, and it will be an incredible launchpad for the UIBL as we bring professional baseball to fans across the Middle East and South Asia. We greatly appreciate the support and partnership of Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Sports City, and the entire Dubai International Stadium team.”
A key part of the UIBL’s growth strategy and intellectual property is the league’s proprietary process of transforming cricket fields – plentiful across the Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East – into baseball fields. This includes formulation and transportation of the infield dirt, design and implementation of the fencing, and customization and build-out of the dugouts, bullpens and pitching mound. In addition, the UIBL team is creating first-of-its-kind seating options that will get fans closer than ever to the action.
“In the U.S., we have baseball fields in nearly every neighborhood,” said Kash Shaikh, President, and Chief Marketing Officer, UIBL. “In India and the Middle East, you can drive thousands of miles without seeing one. While we work at the grassroots level to help expand that infrastructure, we are simultaneously creating our own proprietary process to transform world-class cricket stadiums into hotbeds of professional baseball. And, since we are starting with a blank canvas, we also get to reimagine how fans can experience the game. I’m really excited about the game innovations, fan experiences, and new seating concepts we have in store.”
The UIBL plans to share the stadium designs and new fan seating options – including new premium and corporate seating – in the months ahead. In addition to the UIBL’s innovation plans, Dubai International Stadium is world-famous for its “Ring of Fire” - a special system of 350 floodlights fixed around the circumference of its round roof. The lights minimize the shadows and replace the need for traditional light towers.
“We are honored to host the UIBL at Dubai International Stadium,” said Khalid Al Zarooni, President of Dubai Sports City. “This event continues our stadium’s tradition of hosting world-class international sporting events. We support the UIBL’s vision to bring baseball to our region, and we’re excited to offer fans across our city – and the world – the chance to experience America’s pastime.”