Pune: The Premier Badminton League (PBL) will become an eight-team affair in the coming season with two franchises from Guwahati and Ahmedabad being confirmed to join the existing six teams, it was announced on Wednesday.
The Ahmedabad franchise, owned by Padmanabh Sports Pvt. Ltd, will be known as Ahmedabad Smash Masters and the Guwahati team has been named the Guwahati Eastern Warriors, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) announced in Chennai on Wednesday.
“The new additions underline BAI’s philosophy of taking badminton to all the corners of the country as well as making it the most followed sport in the country,” said BAI President Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The upcoming season will begin from December 22 to January 14, 2018 and will be played in four cities in a rolling format with the final being hosted by Chennai.
Change in point format
The third edition of PBL will also see the 11-point format make way for a 15-point format and there will be only one match a day to drive more footfalls at the stadium and viewership on TV.
“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,” said Atul Pande, Executive Director of SportzLive.
“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.”
The league which offers a prize purse of Rs 6 crore was a six team competition last year with Delhi Acers (Delhi), Mumbai Rockets (Mumbai), Awadhe Warriors (Lucknow), Hyderabad Hunters (Hyderabad), Chennai Smashers (Chennai) and Bengaluru Blasters (Bengaluru) vying for the top honours.
Chennai, led by 2016 Olympic Games Silver Medalist PV Sindhu, deservingly won the championship.
The league last year attracted about 60 world class players including eight Olympic medallists and Rio Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin and a pool of young and talented Indian players lining up for the league that received moderate response from fans.
† Teams: 8
† Cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore,
Lucknow, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Guwahati
† Venues: Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai
† Dates: December 22, 2017-January 14, 2018
† Broadcast Partner: Star Sports - HD 1 & 3 and SS1 & 3 and Hotstar
† Format: Best of 3 sets with 15 points a set
† No of matches in each Tie: 5
† Prize money: Rs 6 crore.
† Winners: Rs 3 crore; Runners-up: Rs 1.5 crore; 3rd & 4th place finish: Rs 75 lakh each