The Vodafone Premier Badminton League (PBL) will become an eight-team affair in the next edition with two franchises from Guwahati and Ahmedabad being confirmed to join the existing six teams, it was announced on Wednesday.
The Ahmedabad franchise, owned by Padmanabh Sports Pvt. Ltd, will be known as Ahmedabad Smash Masters and the Guwahati team has been named the Guwahati Eastern Warriors, according to a release from the Badminton Association of India (BAI).
“The new additions underline BAI’s and its President Himanta Biswa Sarma’s philosophy of taking badminton to all the corners of the country as well as making it the most followed sport in the country,” the release noted.
The upcoming season will begin from December 22 to January 14, 2018 and will be played in four cities in a rolling format with the final being hosted by Chennai.
Sarma said: “As I welcome Ahmedabad and Guwahati on board PBL Season 3, it is a great thing for the league and the sport in the country.”
The third edition of PBL will also see the 11-point format make way for a 15-point format and there will be only one match a day to drive more footfalls at the stadium and viewership on TV.
“This season we have two additional teams and a longer window and we are confident that badminton fans in Chennai will be up for an exciting time,” said Atul Pande, Executive Director of SportzLive.
“We will also be hosting the Final in Chennai and are confident that the way the sport has seen response PBL Season 3 will only grow bigger and better.”
The league which offers a prize purse of INR 6 crore was a six team competition last year with Delhi Acers (Delhi), Mumbai Rockets (Mumbai), Awadhe Warriors (Lucknow), Hyderabad Hunters (Hyderabad), Chennai Smashers (Chennai) and Bengaluru Blasters (Bengaluru) vying for the top honours. Chennai claimed the title.
The league last year attracted 60 world class players including eight Olympic medallists and Rio Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin and a pool of young and talented Indian players in the line up for the league.