Mangipudi Prasad, Executive Director of Sportzlive, which conducts the Premier Badminton League, is a happy man after the successful completion of the fifth edition of the event. So, what are the future plans?

“I sincerely believe that the PBL being a success even after five years is a tribute to the way it has been planned and executed. May be the primary reason for this was we always cared for the players’ interests,” says Prasad.

“There is no doubt that the PBL has certainly created a huge impact on the badminton eco system. It regularly features legends as well as rising stars. This is the beauty of this league played across so many cities,” he says.

“We have successfully ensured that badminton as a sport is growing rapidly because of the PBL and it is evident by the number of young talent emerging on the scene. Significantly, the PBL has made badminton a financially viable profession for players,” continues Prasad.

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“Well, we had our own challenges in conducting the fifth edition of the PBL. But we take pride in conducting it without compromising on the quality of the action and coverage,” says a top official of Sportzlive.

“Initially, the League this year was held in three cities — Chennai, Lucknow and Hyderabad — and couldn’t be held in Bengaluru because of some issues with regard to the venue,” he says. “Definitely, sponsorship was a big challenge this year due to the prevailing economic conditions, but PBL had attracted new sponsors like Inox and Radio City,” he recalls.

“We are also looking at new teams by bringing in some large corporates to own them. And also take the game to new centres and ensure that all Indian players play the PBL,” the Sportszlive official adds.

“We are glad that the PBL has thrown up new talent like Priyanshu, Gayatri and even helped Lakshya Sen consolidate his position as the next big star,” says Prasad.

“We are treating the end of the fifth edition as a big milestone and we are trying to improve from the experiences of the last five years to strengthen it,” he continues.

On the format, Prasad says it may not change drastically, “but we will look at the possibility of completing a tie in two-and-a-half hours to maintain the TV audience interest,” he elaborates.

“Definitely, we are taking feedbacks from various stakeholders and plan to take it to a global audience by signing up broadcast and digital partners in countries like Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, Spain, Denmark, Singapore and Hong Kong,” Prasad reveals.

“It is not just conducting the PBL, we are also very keen to establish a number of academies to nurture talent through the franchise owners. We would love to consolidate further, bring in more stable and established corporates and business houses as team owners next season,” he said.

“We are also keen to ensure that we reach out to cities having a good badminton interest. We can then build a fan base and increase penetration for the sport and the League,” Prasad goes on.

“Yes, one of the innovations we are working on are the regional leagues in badminton-popular states. At some point, we will launch the Junior PBL to promote young talent,” he signs off.