There is Lin Dan. The undisputed king of badminton. There is Chen Long. There is Lee Chong Wei too. That makes the possibility of one of the best duels ever in men’s singles badminton. Then there is PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal. With possibility of a battle that draws most eyeballs for a non-cricketing Indian sport tie. There will be more conventional, exciting rivalries like China-Korea, China-Japan, Japan-Korea and China-Malaysia. There is the best competition Asian badminton can expect. This is Badminton Asia Championship.
The possible duels in the week-long tournament have the best potential to generate tremendous eyeballs on television. But, Indian badminton lovers will have to live without this exciting action. No Indian broadcaster has come forward to acquire the championship rights, which are held by MP & Silva.
A source in MP & Silva has confirmed that no Indian broadcaster has acquired broadcast rights for the BAC Championship, which started in Wuhan, China yesterday. STAR Sport, broadcaster for major badminton action in India, too has given this premium property a bye.
The lack of interest may be attributed to the ongoing Indian Premier League. Badminton lovers are disappointed. “China Masters was another big event that was not broadcast in India,” says Shirish Nadkarni, veteran badminton player, writer and analyst. “IPL is on Sony. STAR traditionally supports badminton. There must have been tough competition from IPL. That kept broadcasters away from Badminton Asia Championship. But that’s how you build sport as a property.”
Incidentally, the Badminton Asia Championship in Ho Chi Minh City last month too had failed to get a broadcaster for Indian market.