The arena will host nine games and one exhibition featuring four of the league’s founding franchises. Dubai International Stadium is a key component of the Dubai Sports City complex, the city’s premier multi-purpose sports development. Since its inception in 2009, the stadium has hosted a number of 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 International League T20 (ILT20), the UAE’s professional cricket league, will also hold its inaugural season at the venue in January 2023.
“It is an honor for our league to begin play in one of the world’s most storied stadiums,” UIBL Founder, Chairman, and CEO Kanwal S. Sra said. “Dubai International Stadium is one of the region’s jewels, 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 gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the support and partnership of Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Sports City, and the entire Dubai International Stadium team.”
The UIBL’s proprietary process of converting cricket fields, which are plentiful throughout the Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East, into baseball fields is an important part of the league’s growth strategy and intellectual property. This includes the preparation and transportation of infield dirt, the design and installation of fencing, and the customization and construction of the dugouts, bullpens, and pitching mound. Furthermore, the UIBL team is developing first-of-its-kind seating options that will bring fans closer to the action than ever before.
“We have baseball fields in almost every neighborhood in the United States,” said Kash Shaikh, President and Chief Marketing Officer of 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 also developing our own proprietary process to transform world-class cricket stadiums into hotbeds of professional baseball. And, because we are starting with a blank canvas, we get to reimagine how fans can experience the game.
The UIBL intends to reveal stadium designs and new fan seating options, including premium and corporate seating, in the coming months. Aside from the UIBL’s innovative plans, Dubai International Stadium is known around the world for its “Ring of Fire,” a special system of 350 floodlights fixed around the circumference of its round roof. The lights reduce shadows and eliminate the need for traditional light towers.
p style=”color: #252525″>”We are honored to host the UIBL at Dubai International Stadium,” Dubai Sports City President Khalid Al Zarooni said. “We support the UIBL’s vision of bringing baseball to our region, and we’re excited to offer fans across our city—and the world—the opportunity to experience America’s pastime.”