Television

Spectator-friendly PBL III offers game's highest prize across globe; to air on Star Sports 1, 3 & HD

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MUMBAI: The Premier Badminton League Season III is back. The league has got eight Olympians fighting for the title and the format has been made crisper and more exciting to suit the viewers.

The PBL is set to start on 1 January, 2017, with new challenges, excitement and players. The third edition will go on for 15 days, and will have one of the world’s biggest badminton players vying for the throne.

Star Sports 1, 3 and HD1, HD3 will be broadcasting the matches which will take the audience to another journey which has seen the game gain momentum in the country.

The winning team will pocket Rs. 3 crore, the runners-up receiving equivalent to half that bounty -- the highest in the world. The teams which finish third and fourth will bag Rs. 75 lakh each. The league will be taking place across India, in state-of-the-art stadia including Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi and Lucknow.

With PV Sindhu winning a silver in the Olympics and the match getting one of the highest views in recent times, the Premier Badminton League organisers are hopeful something similar happens during their games. The Olympic Gold winner has been lapped up by the Hyderabad Hunters for a whopping Rs 61.5 lakh, making her the most expensive player in the league. Danish shuttler Jan O Jorgensen is the costliest male player, going under the hammer for Delhi Acers for Rs 59 lakh.

Among the Indian contingent, Hyderabad’s blue-eyed girl Sindhu is the most expensive female player at Rs 39 lakh, representing Chennai Smashers. The male category is led by Kidambi Srikanth, who’s playing for Awadh Warriors for Rs 51 lakh. Saina Nehwal sustained several injuries in 2016, but will still be one of the costliest Indian players, having been bought over to play for Rs 33 lakh.

Indian badminton national coach Pullela Gopichand said that the spectacular performance of Indian players at the Olympics has added a staggering number of new viewers to the game, and the league would be more exciting and interesting than ever before. Gopichand, the chief advisor of the PBL, also said that the league was trying to bring in certain innovations in the format of the league to make it even more spectator-friendly, like 11-pointer games.

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