MUMBAI: Six franchisees were battling out on the auction floor to get the best names for their team for the upcoming Indian Badminton League (IBL). Ultimately India‘s premiere badminton player, Saina Nehwal was bought by Hyderabad for $1, 20,000 while top spot Lee Chong Wei went to Mumbai for $1, 35,000-the highest price for a player.
The tournament is scheduled to be held from 14 August to 31 August and will be telecast live on ESPN in India as well as 100 other countries. The games will be held in the towns of the six franchisees namely Mumbai Masters, Delhi Smashers, Hyderabad Hotshots, Pune Pistons, Lucknow Warriors and Banga Beats.
Dr. Akhilesh Das Gupta, Badminton Association of India (BAI) President and MP said, "A generous amount has been spent on Indian players by the Franchisees, which is a very positive sign for the Indian players and the sport as a whole." Only Chinese players won‘t be participating in the tournament.
Each team will have ten players-six professional Indian players, four foreign players and one junior Indian player. There will be two men‘s singles, one women‘s singles, one men‘s doubles and one mixed doubles match in the IBL. The women‘s doubles was discarded due to shortage of players. The prize money is a million dollars. "The BAI president and the IBL team have to be commended for bringing this wonderful event and hope that the money which the players earn will motivate them further in improving their performance" said P. Gopichand, the coach of Nehwal.