An exciting new, game-changing National Badminton League (NBL) has today been announced by BADMINTON England, aimed at attracting new and regular sports fans and growing the profile of the sport.
As the first ever national league in the UK, the NBL will be shown live on Sky Sports, and gives fans a chance to get behind their favourite national players and brand new teams. All matches from every matchnight will also be available via digital streaming in the UK and across the world taking the NBL to a global audience.
The NBL will feature new rules that present a fast, exciting and attacking format that’s thrilling to watch live and on TV.
The NBL will consist of six franchised teams featuring GB’s best players and new, emerging talent. The NBL matches will be played to abbreviated scoring including an exciting tie break set, with final format testing being completed in the next few weeks. The five matches will be men’s and women’s singles, and mixed, men’s and women’s doubles.
With the games faster than ever, the non-stop new format will open the sport up to new audiences and millions of new fans.
The NBL kicks off on 6 October 2014 with monthly matchnights through to April 2015. This will then be followed by a one day knockout competition featuring the top four teams in June 2015.
The first season will consist of the following successful franchise teams:
Birmingham Lions (University of Birmingham)
Team Derby (University of Derby)
Loughborough Sport (University of Loughborough)
University of Nottingham Badminton (University of Nottingham)
Surrey Smashers (University of Surrey)
The teams will play against each other once, in a mixture of home and away matches.
The teams will purchase players in an auction format on 2nd June with each team featuring 8 players. Teams will feature the best talent from this country including Olympians, Team England players and also have the ability buy European and International talent.
BADMINTON England’s ambassador for the NBL, Nathan Robertson, Olympic Silver medallist and former World Champion, said: “Players are right behind the NBL. It is a game changer for our sport. The modifications to the rules mean games will be faster than ever.
“The new rules will enable games to get to critical points quicker making it so much more exciting for the fans and the players. There will be no interruption to games, meaning non-stop action. It’s fantastic news for teams, players and fans. I just wish the NBL could have been around when I was playing.”
Sky Sports Commercial Director Richard Verow said: “We’re looking forward to working with BADMINTON England in this innovative new format.
“Sky Sports is pleased to be a partner in this move, helping to create more fans of badminton and bringing the best of the action to Sky Sports viewers.”
Inspired? Find your way to play at badmintonengland.co.uk/waystoplay