ESPN Star Sports Wins Broadcast Rights to Indian Badminton League

July 25, 2013

ESPN Star Sports has won the rights to air live television and digital coverage of the first edition Indian Badminton League (IBL) scheduled to take place next month, according to local reports.

Ashish Chandda, CEO of IBL organiser and marketing company Sporty Solutionz, told Live Mint: “I’m not going to hide the fact that it was very difficult to get this [league] off the ground.”

“For 12 months we had a team of 40 people going from pillar to post to get these six teams going,” Chandda said. “But here’s the satisfying part – we’ve got three companies as team owners who’ve never invested in sports before.”

The investors of the IBL include both sporting event veterans, including The Sahara Group, and rookies in the field, including film financier PVP Ventures, and Dehli-based real estate firm the Krrish Group.

Prasad V Potluri, chairman and MD, PVP, told Live Mint: “We were convinced that there is huge potential in badminton and in this tournament with its eclectic mix of international stars and its crisp format.”

The new franchise league will run from 14-31 August 2013 in Mumbai, Dehli, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow and Bangalore. The events are set to broadcast across the country on a joint venture of Star TV and ESPN. Among the participants include India’s top badminton player and Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, bought by her local team the Hydrabad Hotshots for $120,000, at the auction on 22 July. The highest price paid was $135,000 for Malaysian men’s singles star Lee Chong Wei by Mumbai Masters.