On November 24th, the first-ever professional baseball pitch will be thrown in Dubai International Stadium, a venue that sits more than 7,000 miles away in the heart of the United Arab Emirates. Dubai – one of the world’s most exciting and iconic cities – is the global headquarters of Baseball United, the first-ever professional baseball league focused on the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. That footprint includes some of the largest countries in the world, including India, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

The new league is bringing America’s Pastime to this cricket-crazed region – cricket is the 2nd most popular sport in the world – that is poised to fall in love with its bat-and-ball counterpart. And while buzz about the new league has generated more than a billion media impressions across five continents, Baseball United actually began right here in Wyoming, Ohio. 

Local entrepreneur, sports executive, and Wyoming resident, Kash Shaikh, is the league’s Chairman, CEO, and Majority Owner. Shaikh has spent the last two decades building global businesses at Procter & Gamble, GoPro, Besomebody, Inc., and his own Marketing and Sports agencies, BSB International and BSB Sports. Shaikh has been named Marketer of the Year by Brandweek, Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, and Mentor of the Year by BTCTTS. Mr. Shaikh was also named to the prestigious Inc5000 and Entrepreneur 360 lists, as well as recognized as a “Rising Star” by PRWeek and General Motors. 

A former athlete, licensed sports agent, and lifelong sports fan, Shaikh has worked with sports leagues and athletes for the last two decades, including constructing large endorsement deals with Cincinnati icons such as Joe Burrow, Eugenio Suarez, and Barry Larkin. 

In addition to Larkin, Shaikh has brought on some of the most decorated legends in Major League Baseball history as Co-Owners of the new league, including New York Yankees Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, future Hall of Famers Adrian Beltre and Albert Pujols, former Cy Young Winner Felix Hernandez, former MLB MVP Ryan Howard, and nearly a dozen other MLB alumni. It’s quite possibly the most elite ownership group in all of professional sports.

“It’s a blessing to have the opportunity to make history with such an incredible ownership group and team,” said Shaikh. “It’s entrepreneurship in its purest form, truly building something from nothing, with a high-level of difficulty but the potential to create a significant business that also does a lot of good in the community. And it’s a region I’m personally passionate about, which makes it extra special.”

Shaikh’s father was born in India, and his mother was born in Pakistan. True star-crossed lovers. Shaikh himself was born in Texas. 

Baseball United begins play with an All-Star Showcase event this November in Dubai. Baseball United’s Inaugural Showcase will take place November 24th and 25th in Dubai. The Showcase will feature two Baseball United All-Star teams playing a two-game series that will feature some of the best professional baseball players in the world, with weeklong festivities that celebrate the arrival of baseball to the region. Shaikh and his BSB agency designed the branding and all creative aspects of the Showcase experience. The league’s first full season begins in 2024 and will feature 8 regional franchises.

As Baseball United’s Chairman, CEO, and Majority Owner, Shaikh leads and builds all aspects of the league’s business, including growth strategy, fundraising, marketing, broadcast, sponsorship, ticket sales, merchandise, and government relations. Shaikh also negotiated an unprecedented, 15-year agreement with the UAE government to help facilitate the growth of the league. It was the first deal of its kind in history.

And while much of the league’s operations will be based in Dubai, Shaikh intentionally chose Cincinnati  – the birthplace of professional baseball – as Baseball United’s North America headquarters. This designation has positioned Cincinnati as a leader within international sports, showing that the city that brought the game to life back in 1869 with its first professional baseball franchise can do it again, this time inspiring fans across the globe to fall in love with the game.  

“It’s important to us to carry the Cincinnati flag with us wherever we go,” said Shaikh. “This city has such a strong history and heritage in sports, and its story isn’t told often enough. We’ve been telling it, and people across the world are starting to take notice.”

Larkin is equally excited about the opportunity to showcase the city through the work of Baseball United. He’s teaming with another Red’s legend, Chris Sabo, to manage one of the 2024 full-season franchises – the Mumbai Cobras. The two won a World Series together in 1990 and will try to recreate that magic for the 1.3 billion people in India.

“This is a big deal,” said Larkin. “There are so many talented players out there that have been one chance away from elevating their careers. Now, Baseball United gets to be that one chance. I can’t wait to continue to elevate Cincinnati – my hometown – across this part of the world.”

The November 24-25th Showcase games will be broadcast globally to more than 100 countries. For a list of where to watch, visit baseballunited.com