The Premier Badminton League Season 5 has been scheduled from January 20 to February 9 next year. Bengaluru Raptors will be the defending champions. The team had won the title under the able leadership of Kidambi Srikanth.
The PBL matches this time will be played at four venues – Chennai, Delhi, Lucknow and Bengaluru.
“India’s prowess in badminton has been re-established once again as PV Sindhu became the first Indian to become the world champion. Sai Praneeth also brought a men’s singles medal after 36 years, signifying India’s stupendous development in the sport. The fifth season of PBL will give badminton lovers a priceless opportunity to watch these champions live,” said BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The league will yet again offer a prize purse of ₹6 crore, with the champions returning home richer by ₹ 3 crore.
“It is not only singles but the dynamics have now changed with superb performances from the young brigade like Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty. The two have put Indian doubles on the badminton map with their fearless display against world champions. PBL played a pivotal role in their emergence and it will be fantastic to see them weave their magic in front of home fans,” said Atul Pande, Managing Director, SportzLive.
With Star Sports as the Official Broadcaster and Hotstar live streaming the league, the fifth season is all set to take India by storm for the 21 days of action.
“The transition for Indian youngsters to the senior circuit has been brilliant and PBL has been instrumental in it. It has given confidence to the likes of Lakshya Sen, who has gone on to create fireworks even at the senior level. To see him and other rising stars perform at home in PBL5 will be one of the biggest highlights for badminton lovers of the country,” said Prasad Mangipudi, Executive Director, SportzLive.
The auction date will soon be announced as the fifth season promises high octane action ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Incidentally, formal announcement of the league is made a day after former All-England Champion and India’s chief national coach Pullela Gopichand has raised the issue of players’ injuries due to stress as the cramped international calendar allows little time to the top shuttlers to rest, recover and overcome the stress of regularly being on the circuit. The 2020 being the Olympic, there will also be doubts about the presence of global starts. Poor run of India’s ace shuttlers like PV Sindhu, K Srikanth and Saina Nehwal is another area of concen.
The league was conceived by Sporty Solutionz Private Limited and launched in 2013. The highly successful inaugural season, with the likes of then World No. 1 Lee Chong in fray, had set a bench mark to exploit the commercial potential of the sport. The six-team affair in year one was played across six Indian cities with the grand finale at Mumbai’s NSCI dome.