The tremendous success of the Indian Premier League brought with it a renaissance in India’s private sports league scenario. Within a decade or so the country already had private leagues for Hockey, Football, Tennis, and even Kabaddi.
Apart from commercially exploiting the sport, one of the most important impacts that these leagues targeted was that of providing a world-class platform for talented youngsters. The Premier Badminton League was formed somewhere on this exact principle.
Indian Badminton League (2013)
When it was launched in 2013, the PBL was known as the Indian Badminton League. The inaugural season was a 6 team affair (Delhi Smashers, Awadhe Warriors, Mumbai Marathas, Pune Pistons, Hyderabad Hypershots, Banga Beats) and was hosted by six respective cities.
The season was highly competitive, with the table leaders Hyderabad just 4 points above the bottom team Banga Beats. Riding on the form of local superstar and captain, Saina Nehwal, India’s badminton capital, the Hyderabad Hypershots went all the way to win the first-ever Indian Badminton League trophy.
PBL 2016 (Season 1)
Even after some blockbuster ties between some of the biggest names in the badminton world, IBL failed to elicit as much of an interest as expected. As a result, it went into a 3-year sabbatical.
Things changed drastically in 2016 when PV Sindhu won India’s first-ever silver in Badminton (while also becoming the first Indian women to achieve the feat) at the Rio Olympics. Her achievements were even more special since India had managed to win only two medals that year.
That event was a turning point in the fortunes of Badminton, with the nation perceiving it with renewed respect. The first season was announced in the following year, but with a new name – Premier Badminton League.
Players like Tommy Sugiarto, Chris Adcock, K Srikanth, and PV Sindhu among others dominated the league. PV Sindhu went on to win the most valuable player of the league that year, with the shuttler helping her team Chennai Smashers to a third finish.
Delhi Dashers clinched the title after beating HS Prannoy’s Mumbai Rockets by a close margin of 4-3.
PBL 2017 (Season 2)
The third season of Premier Badminton League commenced in January 2017, bringing with it many more nail-biting clashes. The 2017 PBL saw one major change in the teams. Former Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar became a co-owner of Bengaluru Topguns and renamed into Bengaluru Blasters.
It was PV Sindhu who was the woman of the moment in the season as well with the Olympic silver medalist helping her team Chennai Smashers to finish third in the league table. Chennai went on to trump 2016’s runner-ups Awadhe Warriors by a margin of 4-1 before emerging victorious against Mumbai Rockets to win the title.
PBL 2017-18 (Season 3)
The PBL season 4 returned in December 2017 and brought two new teams with it- the Ahmedabad Smash Masters and the North Eastern Warriors. The inauguration of the 8-team league was at the hands of old foes, PV Sindhu and Carolina Marin. It was the latter that got the better of her opponent, winning by three straight sets.
However, the Spaniard’s dominance did not last for long as she went to on to lose both of her following encounters against Sung Ji Hyun of Korea. Things turned ugly when Marin pulled out of her match against Tai Tzu Ying.
Nonetheless, Carolin was elemental in steering Hyderabad Hunters to the top of the table, three points adrift Ahmedabad Smash Masters. The final was a one-sided affair, with Marin trumping Gilmour of Bengaluru Blasters in sets of 15-8, 15-14 to hand her team a 3-2 title-winning victory.
PBL 2018-19 (Season 4)
The fourth PBL season was held between December 2018 and January 2019. Pune 7 Warriors became the 9th addition to the league in its 4th season. Bengaluru-based franchise- The Bengaluru Blasters (previously- Bengaluru TopGuns) rebranded for the second time in 3 years as Bengaluru Raptors. The change seemed to have worked, as they finally lifted their first PBL trophy.
Premier Badminton League 2020
The Premier Badminton League 2020 also known as PBL season 5 begins from Monday (20 January). PV Sindhu will lead the Hyderabad Hunters to Chennai and face the Chennai Superstarz in the opening tie.
3 different cities, i.e, Chennai (20 January to 25 January); Lucknow (25 January to 29 January); Hyderabad (30 January to 9 February) will host 24 ties in 21 days in PBL Season 5.
Premier Badminton League 2020 Teams
Seven teams- Awadhe Warriors, Bengaluru Raptors, Mumbai Rockets, Hyderabad Hunters, Chennai Superstarz, North Eastern Warriors and Pune 7 Aces will fight for the Premier Badminton League 2020 title.
Lucknow based badminton franchise Awadhe Warriors was founded in the first season (2013). The Sahara Adventure Sports Ltd-owned team had their best season in the Vodafone-PBL (Season 2) finishing the third place. The team has had P.V. Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap, Ashwini Ponnappa among others play in their ranks.
Defending Champions Bengaluru Raptors have played under three different names in 6 seasons. They started with Bengaluru Topguns, shifted to Bengaluru Blasters, Before renaming as Bengaluru Raptors. Matrix Badminton Teamworks Pvt Ltd owns the Bangalore based franchise. Currently, the team is lead by Indian badminton ace Kidambi Srikanth and has other stars like Sai Praneeth and Vu Thi Trang among its ranks.
From the City of Dreams come the Mumbai Rockets. Owned by Zoylo Digihealth. The Rockets have finished as the runner’s up in the first two seasons of the PBL. The team will be hoping for a shift in fortunes in the upcoming PBL season. Currently, Korean shuttler Lee Yongdae captains and Amrish Shinde coaches the Mumbai Rockets.
Hyderabad Hunters represent the city known as the home of badminton in India. Owned by Agile Entertainment Pvt Ltd, the Hunters won the IBL 2013 and PBL 2017-18. Led by Indian Badminton trailblazer PV Sindhu the Hyderabad Hunter will look to win their second title in 2020. Hunters fans are fortunate to have witnessed talented players Saina Nehwal, K Srikanth, Sai Praneeth and Ashwini Ponnappa at some point.
Chennai Superstarz, or formerly known as Chennai Smashers, is the badminton franchise of Chennai. The South Indian side dominated in the second and third PBL season when they finished second and first respectively. The team, owned by actor-politician Vijay Prabhakar, will rely heavily on rising star Lakshya Sen to have a good season in win 2020.
North Eastern Warriors
The North Eastern Warriors are one of the latest entrants in the PBL, having joined in season 2017-18. The franchise is owned by The Eastern Warriors Pvt. Ltd and has set up its home base in Guwahati. The North Eastern Warriors are yet to create some disruption and will hope Saina Nehwal, Siril Verma and Kim Ha-na lead the way in doing so.
Pune 7 Aces
Pune-based badminton franchise Pune 7 Aces will play their second season in the PBL. Owned by Bollywood actress Tapsee Pannu and KRI Entertainment, the Aces had an average season finishing fifth, and missing the knockouts by just 2 points. They will look upon players like Chris Adcock, Hendra Setiawan and Chirag Shetty to build on their performance in PBL 2020.
PBL Schedule 2020
|1||20 January||Chennai Superstarz vs Hyderabad Hunters||19:00||Chennai|
|2||21 January||North Eastern Warriors vs Bengaluru Raptors||19:00||Chennai|
|3||22 January||Chennai Superstarz vs Mumbai Rockets||19:00||Chennai|
|4||23 January||Awadhe Warriors vs North Eastern Warriors||19:00||Chennai|
|5||24 January||Chennai Superstarz vs Bengaluru Raptors||19:00||Chennai|
|6||25 January||Pune 7 Aces vs Mumbai Rockets||19:00||Lucknow|
|7||26 January||Awadhe Warriors vs Hyderabad Hunters||19:00||Lucknow|
|8||27 January||Pune 7 Aces vs Bengaluru Raptors||19:00||Lucknow|
|9||28 January||Awadhe Warriors vs Mumbai Rockets||19:00||Lucknow|
|10||29 January||Hyderabad Hunters vs North Eastern Warriors||19:00:00||Hyderabad|
|11||30 January||Pune 7 Aces vs Chennai Superstarz||15:30||Hyderabad|
|12||30 January||Mumbai Rockets vs North Eastern Warriors||19:00||Hyderabad|
|13||31 January||Hyderabad Hunters vs Bengaluru Raptors||19:00||Hyderabad|
|14||01 February||Pune 7 Aces vs North Eastern Warriors||15:30||Hyderabad|
|15||01 February||Awadhe Warriors vs Chennai Superstarz||19:00||Hyderabad|
|16||02 February||Mumbai Rockets vs Bengaluru Raptors||19:00||Hyderabad|
|17||03 February||Awadhe Warriors vs Pune 7 Aces||19:00||Hyderabad|
|18||04 February||North Eastern Warriors vs Chennai Superstarz||15:30||Hyderabad|
|19||04 February||Hyderabad Hunters vs Mumbai Rockets||19:00||Hyderabad|
|20||05 February||Awadhe Warriors vs Bengaluru Raptors||19:00||Hyderabad|
|21||06 February||Hyderabad Hunters vs Pune 7 Aces||19:00||Hyderabad|
|22||07 February||Semi Final 1||19:00||Hyderabad|
|23||08 February||Semi Final 2||19:00||Hyderabad|
- Under the aegis of the Badminton Association of India (BAI)
- PBL Sponsor- Vodafone Group Plc
- Associate Sponsor- Bridgestone
- Multiplex partner- INOX
- Radio partner- Radio City
- Media Partner- Mera Hoardings.com
- Organised by- SportzLive
- Broadcast Partner- Star Sports
|Indian Badminton League 2013||Hyderabad Hotshots||Awadhe Warriors||3-1||Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Indoor Stadium, NSCI, Mumbai|
|Premier Badminton League 1 (2016)||Delhi Dashers||Mumbai Rockets||4-3||DDA Siri Fort Sport Complex, New Delhi|
|Premier Badminton League 2 (2017)||Chennai Smashers||Mumbai Rockets||4-3||DDA Siri Fort Sport Complex, New Delhi|
|Premier Badminton League 3 (2017-18)||Hyderabad Hunters||Bengaluru Blasters||4-3||Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad|
|Premier Badminton League 4 (2018-19)||Bengaluru Raptors||Mumbai Rockets||4-3||Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru|
Where To Watch
Star Sports will broadcast the PBL Season 5 among its various channels. Live streaming service is available on Hotstar.