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How PBL is helping India become a badminton stronghold

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Sudipta Biswas | Kolkata

In the sporting eco-system of a country, a professional league always emerges as the catalyst in developing a sport and making it popular among masses. In India, multiple leagues have flourished since the Indian Premier League (IPL), the richest professional T20 cricket league of the world, began in 2008. Taking cue from IPL’s huge success and its worldwide popularity most of the sport governing bodies in India put forward their legs to commercial leagues with an ambition to unearth young talents and offer senior players a platform to share the court with foreign stars- a process which is being touted as the best way to keep themselves up to date with the modern techniques, method and equipments used across the sporting community for the developments of their game.

Now, Premier Badminton League (PBL), which was earlier known as Indian Badminton League (IBL), has become one of the richest commercial leagues in India with everyone converging on it with an aspiration to have great exploits. From big brands to senior players to young stars- everyone has been treating this tournament as a platform to maximise their chances of gaining better results at international events. Irrespective of the outcome of a match, shuttlers always get a chance to know their opponents and their strengths and weakness in PBL. This means renowned players’ success mantra is no more a private affair. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the world’s best shuttlers’ success hymn is now an open secret.

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(Source: Twitter/@PBLIndia)

Since PBL came into existence, commercial entities embraced the league with open arms. It left many in awe. Why it should not be? In a country where cricket is still being treated as the most preferred medium to woo the targeted customer bases, we have to praise those companies and personalities who came forward to promote the sport in this nation. Famous celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar, Taapse Pannu and others involved in the league as owners have proved to be a big boost to the tournament. At the same time, we would not do justice if we do not talk about those brands who took a risk without much thinking about the profit at the early stage of the event.

In this regard, companies like Agile Security Force (Hyderabad Hunters), Sahara India Pariwar (Awadh Warriors), Infinite Computer Solution (Delhi Dasher) Padmanabh Sports Pvt. Ltd (Ahmedabad Smash Masters) and Devyani Leisures (Mumbai Rockets) braved out the fear of losing millions by investing their money and trust during the league’s foundation years. Now, they are getting back the fruits, earning millions from the mega sporting fixture since it has found its place among the most profitable leagues of India. It helped companies to reach out to their targeted audiences as it beefed up their reach, credentials and created brand awareness among the customers.

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PV Sindhu in action. (Source: Twitter/@PVSindhu1)

Notwithstanding, developing one sport into a popular entity brands’ association is one of the key factors. Hence, making badminton a go-to sport these brands played a crucial role. In the wake of these developments, many budding shuttlers took up the sport as a sustainable profession, considering the money, respect and the recognition it has to offer to them.

With Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap, Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma being the role models for young shuttlers, talents are coming thick and fast into this game. Badminton academies run by the former players like- Prakash Padukone, Pullela Gopichand and Vimal Kumar- took up the responsibility to nurture those young talents, India has ample reasons to be confident.

With infrastructure, government assistance, home-grown coaching staffs, commercial entities strongly involved in making India badminton giant, PBL has become a major merging point for all these stakeholders, there is no way for India to look back. From here Indian shuttlers should only look forward to a massive success because it best suits them.