New Delhi, Aug 14 (): Touted as the richest prize-money badminton tournament in the world, IPL-style Indian Badminton League (IBL) kick-started with a grand opening ceremony in New Delhi.
The opening ceremony of the IBL started at 6:30 pm in New Delhi. The ceremony had regular song and dance shows before the high-profile clash between Delhi and Pune that started at 8 pm.
The first edition of the league is perhaps taking place at the right time after a successful outing of India at the World Championships last week. Following cricket, hockey and boxing, badminton will also see top shuttlers from all major badminton nations ,excepting China playing in the Aug 14-31 tournament.
The IBL is a joint initiative of BAI and Sporty Solutionz Pvt. Ltd, who are the commercial right holders of the League for multiple years.
The six city-based franchises featuring in the inaugural edition of the League are Hyderabad Hotshots (Hyderabad, owned by PVP Group), Banga Beats (BOP Group), Krrish Delhi Smashers (Delhi, Krrish Group), Awadhe Warriors (Lucknow, Sahara), Pune Pistons (Pune, Burman family) and Mumbai Masters (Mumbai, cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar, Telugu film star Akkineni Nagarjuna and businessman V. Chamundeshwarnath). Each franchise comprises of six Indians, four foreigners and a junior Indian player.
The format of the matches will be men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, men’s singles and then mixed doubles.
The league matches will be held from August 14-31 across six cities in the country. The top four teams will clash in the semi-finals. Hyderabad and Bangalore will get to host the semi-finals while the winners of the semi-finals will meet in the final on August 31 in Mumbai.
IBL is expected to be a loud affair when several Indian and international stars clash with each other, playing high-spirited badminton in the next 18 days to give the six franchises a chance to win the coveted title.