Franchise-based leagues in India have employed several measures to keep the commercial value at an optimum level. The ‘strategic’ timeout in the Indian Premier League is an example of how the game can be formatted to accommodate more advertisements, hence bringing in more revenue for broadcasters. In line with this thinking, the Premier Badminton League (PBL) that begins on Saturday will see the broadcasters have a say in the order of play.
In international badminton team events such as the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup, the order of play is decided by the referees. In the PBL, the decision on the order of play will be taken mutually by broadcasters Star Sports and the technical committee of the tournament.
According to a spokesperson of Star, it will be an input from the broadcaster, and will be given ahead of the start of the tie.
“It will be our input and will be given to the technical committee ahead of the tie. It is the technical committee that will then take a call and judge if the order of play can be carried out,” said the spokesperson.
“There is obviously a TV-friendly format. We are trying to ensure that the most popular and best players actually play at the time when the stadiums are full and viewership is high. That is the broadcaster’s input. Finally, it is down to the technical committee. They have specific guidelines on how players play matches and what breaks they need,” he added.
According to rules of the PBL, both captains need to share the names of players who will be representing their teams in the five matches of the tie.
Commenting on the revision, India player Parupalli Kashyap called the rule strange.
“Usually in international tournaments, it is the referees who decide the order of play. It was strange to understand that the broadcasters will decide the order,” said Kashyap, who will be representing the Hyderabad Hunters.
Asked if it would cause a problem for players playing multiple matches, Kashyap said he would trust the referees to maintain order.
“When there is such a scenario, there are at least two matches played in between. I trust the referees will make that call and keep the order keeping such things in mind,” he added.
The revamped PBL will see many changes, including a ‘Trump’ match as well as 15-point games, instead of 21 points that is the norm in the sport.