Television

Indian Badminton League’s new plans for the second season

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Bigger is always better and that’s what the Indian Badminton League is sorting to be.

The second edition, which is slated to kick off in the second week of January 2015, is preparing itself to be bigger this year. According to official sources, IBL will see addition of two new franchises - Kolkata and Chennai - taking the total number of teams to eight. 

Last season, the six teams included Lucknow (Awadhe Warriors), Bengaluru (Banga Beats), Delhi (Delhi Smashers), Hyderabad (Hyderabad Hot Shots),Mumbai ( Mumbai Masters) and Pune (Pune Pistons). 

However, speculations are also rife that teams from cities like Guwahati and Jaipur might also be added.

This apart, teams will also be allowed to have a total of six international players as compared to last year’s cap of four in a team. The total number of players per team will now be 13 with six international players and seven Indian players.

Sources further add that this year could also see the teams breaking even or making a profit from the league.

Star Sports will continue telecasting the league this year too. Production values will be improved with 16 cameras and features like improved match replays being added.

The leagues intra-school talent scouting programme, Shuttle Express, will start in the coming weeks and will be held across the eight cities. Last year, 120 schools in six cities were visited and an incentive of Rs 10 lakh in prize money was handed over to the winners in both boys and girls single events. This year the prize money will remain the same.

The first edition was held from 14 August to 31 August 2013 and was broadcasted live on Star Sports2 and ESPN channels. Hyderabad Hotshots had won the maiden edition of the league defeating Awadhe Warriors. With prize money of $1 million, the IBL is the richest badminton tournament in the world.

This second edition was shifted to January 2015 over concerns of a busy international schedule. The Badminton Association of India (BAI) and organisers are meanwhile clearing a few bottlenecks and official announcements are expected in few weeks.

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