Major League Baseball has announced the opening of its sixth international office today, with the addition of MLB India in New Delhi. The office will be tasked with growing the game in India through fan engagement and baseball development.
Million Dollar Arm, the contest that originally began as a reality TV show organized by J.B. Bernstein and was the basis of the 2014 movie of the same name, will return this fall. The contest will run later this year from September to December with thousands of participants competing to earn a try-out with a Major League team.
MLB First Pitch, a grassroots program already being used to promote baseball in Mexico and China, will be introduced in India for Primary School Children, in 300 schools across New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. The program creates the first opportunity for students to learn and enjoy the sport through workshops conducted by MLB International coaches.
“We are especially excited as we look to venture into a grassroots programme in India,” said Jim Small, MLB Senior Vice-President, International. “The country has huge potential for us, and we want to make sure that India is an important part of the ever-growing brand that is MLB. As the name suggests, MLB First Pitch will provide participants with their first-ever opportunity to learn baseball from our certified coaches. It has been an ambition of MLB to establish our presence in India, and I am really pleased to engage with our potential fans through this initiative.”
India On Track (IOT), India’s leading sports management, marketing and development company is partnering with MLB to expand and market the MLB First Pitch program. “It is a privilege for us to be associated with a brand like Major League Baseball, which is the only leading entity in baseball across the globe,” said Vivek Sethia, India On Track’s Founder and CEO.
“Bringing an experiential grassroots program for baseball in the form of MLB First Pitch, we are aiming to get the Indian audience to welcome a new sport in the country. We are confident that through this program, MLB will be able to inspire the new generation to take up the sport of baseball.”
“I am very happy to be associated with Major League Baseball on behalf of the Delhi Capitals. Cricket and baseball have quite a few things in common. Growing up playing cricket, we always knew there was a similar sport played in the United States, but never imagined it would come to India one day. Delhi Capitals is delighted to help support the MLB brand and introduce India to a new sport,” said Mohammad Kaif, Assistant Coach, Delhi Capitals.
MLB India will have the opportunity to help showcase baseball in the country with a game being broadcast on Facebook each week through the end of the regular season. The games are available to anyone with a Facebook account in any part of the world.