Badminton is the latest sport to be given the Sky Sports viewer-friendly treatment, and arrived on our screens in the shape of The National Badminton League last night.
Sky are excellent at reformatting a sport to make it more appealing to the general public. The positives for the sport and it’s players are an injection of much needed cash and increased awareness, which will hopefully create more aspiring newcomers. In the past they’ve revolutionised darts, which is a hugely popular TV sport, and they also were instrumental in transforming cricket’s reputation for meandering matches to the crash, bang, wallop entertainment of Twenty20.
So, they’ve now turned their attention to Badminton, and have constructed a league of 6 franchises, and a new format which includes Powerplay points, Time-Out’s, Tiebreaks and Substitutions. Having watched some Badminton on the first night it captured my attention by being a quick and skilful sport. The format’s good, there’s a team element which means you always attach yourself to one side or another, and it all moves along at a good pace.
Sky Sports launch the National Badminton League
It has also attracted the big names from English badminton and some from overseas. England’s highest ranking mens player Rajiv Ouseph plays for Team Derby, and the highest ranking woman Sarah Walker plays for the Birmingham Lions. I’ve no doubt that their main focus for now will be the National Championships, the Europeans and the World Champioinships, but I can see the National Badminton League quickly establishing itself as an important title.
At Challenge Trophies we naturally have an interest in the trophy that will be created for this event. There isn’t an iconic badminton trophy that is widely known, but when Sky Sports are involved they normally create something eye-catching. We’ll await the conclusion in April 2015 to find out.
The next round of matches will be shown on Sky Sports on 3rd November.