MUMBAI: Star Sports has signed up as the title sponsor for the Premier Badminton League which will see the world’s top shuttlers square off in India’s largest badminton tournament. Given the competition’s stature as well as India’s prominence on badminton’s global stage, the sport is central to Star Sports’ strategy to foster a multi-sport culture in the country.
The country’s star shuttler Saina Nehwal is currently world number 2, while others like PV indhu, 12th in the standings, and K. Srikanth, ninth overall, have also made their mark on the sport. India’s largest broadcaster, Star Sports has already signed up as the League’s official broadcast partner.
Star India COO Sanjay Gupta said: “The success of India’s badminton stars internationally has led to the emergence of a passionate fan base back home. As a result, like Kabaddi, badminton is now a sport that’s very close to the hearts of Indian fans. The prospect of our home heroes facing up against the best the world has to offer in our own backyard was a prospect that was too tempting to pass up. Strategically, it also made the most business sense for Star Sports given our efforts to create a vibrant sporting ecosystem in the country.”
Star Sports plans to introduce several innovative broadcast initiatives to the League in its efforts to forge a deeper engagement with fans and place them right in the thick of this fast-paced sport. The broadcaster will project telemetry like players’ heart rates live on screen. It will also hand out four awards after each day of play for the best rally, the fastest smash, the player of the day and the fan of the day as selected through contests run by franchises across locations. The league will be packaged like no other badminton tournament has been before, with lights and music adding further dazzle to an already riveting and star-studded spectacle.
Tweaks to the rules, like unpredictable player draws, ‘Trump Matches’ – which are worth bonus points – and the newly-introduced ‘sudden death’ rule will add a further dose of excitement to the tournament.
The Premier Badminton League kicks off January 2nd, 2016 and will be played until January 17th. Live telecast will be on Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD2, Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD3 and hotstar.