The Indian Badminton League kicked off last week in the National capital among much fan fare. The league is modeled on the lines of the hugely popular Indian Premier League. For a sport to gain popularity, it is imperative to have role models in that sport. Especially in individual sports like Badminton and tennis. In tennis, India has been blessed to have two of the greatest tennis players India has ever produced, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati. Similarly, in Badminton, India have had Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand in the past. But the current crop of Badminton talent is the driving force that is helping India forward in this sport. Saina Nehwal is at the forefront of this. She has climbed insurmountable challenges to reach the where she has today. Her success has resulted in India producing more talent every day.
With the likes of PV Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap and the pair of Jwala Gutta & Ashwini Ponnappa, India has a formidable squad to represent in the International tournaments. Now with the IBL coming into existence, this pool is only going to get bigger and better. The best part about a league like this is that the local talent gets to share the dais with more established stars from the International arena. In addition to this, the monetary gains also add to the benefits.
Such a tournament also attracts media exposure and helps the game to reach a wider audience. This is pivotal for the game to gain popularity. The broadcast will help the game to reach in far away regions and ultimately help the game to grow. Such a league also helps the players to benefit monetarily. The auction was held for the players and many of them fetched a good price. There was a controversy surrounding a couple of players, however, once the game began, all was forgotten and Badminton was the focal point.
Now this is only the inaugural season, it remains to be seen how the organizers are able to sustain the league over a period of time. The broadcasting and the sponsorship agreements are largely for the first year, so the success for the league is of paramount importance in the first year itself.