The Badminton League, starting on December 23 at Guwahati, will not be broadcast in Hindi language. The broadcast partner Star Sports has decided to produce only English commentary for the premier badminton tournament.
This is the first occasion in the history of the league, initiated in 2013, that there will be no feed for the Hindi viewers, a Star Sports source confirmed to Insidesport.co.
The matches will be broadcast live on Star Sport 1 and Star Sports 1 HD between 7 pm and 10 pm. On Sunday, December 24, when India meet Sri Lanka for the third and final match of the T20 international series in Mumbai, the badminton will be broadcast on Star Sport 2 and Star Sports 2 HD.
The broadcasters’ decision is a big blow to badminton in a year that has been among the best ever for the shuttle sport in India. Kidambi Srikanth, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy have established themselves as powers to reckon and the fan base for the sport at home has witnessed a consistent growth.
Star Sports has been busy extending its regional reach with live programming for cricket, kabaddi, football with regional language live feed in Tamil, Telugu, and Bangla. However, badminton despite having country’s highest paid brand icon in PV Sindhu and a strong fan base seems to have failed to invoke the broadcasters’ confidence.
The league this year will feature a total of 24 matches, including the semi-finals and the final. However, in spite of an increase in the participating teams from six to eight, the number of venues has been reduced to five. The matches will be played at Guwahati, Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai, and Hyderabad.
Star Sports, which also holds the commercial rights for the league, will not #smashthehousedown for the badminton lovers in the Hindi heartland.