2006 All News
Record prize fund and big ticket boost for Yonex All England Championships
THE 97th Yonex All England Badminton Championships will boast a record $200,000 prize fund when it is staged in Birmingham's National Indoor Arena from March 7-11.
And already ticket sales are up on the same time last year with 5,000 already sold - even though the world's oldest and most prestigious event is two months later than this year's Championships as it returns to its traditional March slot in the international badminton calendar.
Tournament director Darren Parks believe two factors have generated the early surge in interest.
He explained: "First the Yonex All England Championships is one of the early events in the new 12-tournament Super Series starting next month. Inclusion in the Super Series was vital for English badminton and for the All England and required a change in the tournament format and a significant increase in prizemoney.
"Badminton England had no hesitation in increasing the prize fund once the Badminton World Federation had determined that the new Super Series tournaments would feature draws of 32 players for each singles event or pairs for the three doubles events to reflect quality rather than quantity in the matches on offer.
"But on top of that, Badminton England's early booking discount scheme has once again paid dividends. Fans booking before December 31 can take advantage of a 10 per cent discount. So there's still time to buy friends and family tickets for the Yonex All England Championships as a Christmas present.
"In any case we urge fans to buy their tickets early because for the last two Championships, semi-finals and finals day have been sell-outs."
It means you really can't afford not to be there when World and Commonwealth champions and Olympic silver medallists Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms try to regain their mixed doubles title after finishing runners-up this year.
On top of that there will be chance to see world silver medallists Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg in the mixed and Clark and Robert Blair in the men's doubles in action alongside many of England's emerging young stars.
This will be the 24th consecutive Yonex All England Championships - one of the most enduring and successful sponsorships in British sport.
Play on the Wednesday (6 courts) and Thursday (3 courts) of the Championships will start at 11am and will continue until 10pm approx. On the Thursday there will be a new element: an interval from 4pm-5.30pm. Quarter-finals Friday (3 courts) will feature play from 5pm-10.30 with semi-final Saturday (2 courts) and finals Sunday (1 court) offering play from 12.30.
Tickets for the Yonex All England Championships are on sale from the National Indoor Arena box office on 0870 010 9079 or on line at www.necgroup.co.uk/boxoffice
Full-price tickets start at £11 on the Wednesday (plus booking fee) while a season ticket for the whole tournament is £52 plus booking fee. But there are a range of discounts on offer for Badminton England members, students, OAPs and school parties. But remember: book before December 31 and there's 10 per cent off!
Once again the Championships will be covered live on Sky Sports from the quarter-final stages.