THE THIRD EDITION of Premier Badminton League will see the addition of two more franchises to make it a fulsome 8-team affair.
Organised under the aegis of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) by Sportzlive, the official license holders of the League, the tournament will now reach out to fans in Guwahati and Ahmedabad as well. The Ahmedabad team, owned by Padmanabh Sports Pvt. Ltd is a subsidiary of Padmanabh Industries Ltd. and will be known as the Ahmedabad Smash Masters while the Guwahati team has been baptized as the Guwahati Eastern Warriors.
The additions underline BAI and its President Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma’s ambition of taking badminton to every corner of the country while also moving towards making it the most followed sport in India.
The new season will begin on December 22, 2017, and will conclude on January 14, 2018. It will be played in four cities across India in a rolling format with Chennai hosting the finals: the remaining four expected to play host next season.
Expressing his delight at the expansion, BAI President Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma said,
“I welcome Ahmedabad and Guwahati into the PBL Season 3 fold. It is a true reflection of the popularity of the league and the sport in the country.”
He revealed that more and more people were keen on associating themselves with the sport.
“There is tremendous enthusiasm for badminton across the country. The sport is growing and we believe it will only get bigger and better going forward. I would like to thank the new owners and wish them the very best. I would also like to congratulate SportzLive for their efforts. I believe that together we can take badminton to unprecedented heights.”
The third edition of the PBL will see the 11-point format make way for the 15-point format and there will be one tie a day. It is expected to lift the quality of play with the players getting enough rest while also increasing footfalls at the stadium and viewership on TV. Executive Director of SportzLive, Atul Pande, said,
“This Season we have two additional teams and a longer window and we are confident that Badminton fans in Chennai will be up for an exciting time. We will also be hosting the Final in Chennai and are confident that the way the sport has seen response PBL Season 3 will only grow bigger and better."
Six teams battled for honours and a whopping prize purse of Rs 6 Crore last year, with Delhi Acers, Mumbai Rockets, Awadhe Warriors (Lucknow), Hyderabad Hunters, Chennai Smashers and Bengaluru Blasters representing the six cities. Chennai, led by 2016 Olympic Games Silver Medalist PV Sindhu, deservingly won the championship.
PBL 2 attracted over 60 world class players, including eight Olympic medalists led by Rio Olympic Gold Medalist Carolina Marin and a pool of young and talented Indian players. This year it is expected to draw, even more, top players, giving Indians the opportunity to get better.