The inaugural National Badminton League launches in October and Sky Sports will be courtside to bring fans regular live action from this brand new competition.
Described as a ‘game-changing’ opportunity for top-level badminton, the NBL is the first ever professional national badminton league to be contested in the UK and will feature some of the best badminton players Great Britain has to offer, as well as top European stars and emerging young talent.
Created and run by Badminton England, the debut season of this innovative new event will feature six franchise teams competing in monthly match nights, all with the aim of being crowned NBL champions.
The six teams contesting for glory over the next six months are Milton Keynes Badminton and Surrey Smashers, who meet in the first televised clash of the competition, alongside the Birmingham Lions, Team Derby, Loughborough Sport and University of Nottingham.
Played out over six Monday evenings from October to April next year, each of the match-nights will see a minimum of two fixtures take place at different venues, with the top four then making it through to the final tournament in June when the overall winner will be crowned in a separate one-day knockout competition.
It promises to be a thrilling league and provide a new showcase for this highly popular sport, adopting a shorter form of the game as eight players compete for each team in two singles and three doubles matches.
Commonwealth gold medallist Chris Adcock will captain the University of Nottingham team as the NBL boasts a wealth of top talent, plus some of the sport’s hottest prospects.
All other Great Britain and England programme players were signed at the player auction, including Chris Langridge for the Surrey Smashers and Lauren Smith for Loughborough Sport.
With a new game format, unique scoring system and dynamic in-game features that makes sure every minute of every match matters, every match-night will be shown live on Sky Sports as it showcases extensive coverage of the fastest racket sport on the planet.
Athens 2004 Olympic silver medallist and former Commonwealth Games champion Nathan Robertson is an ambassador for the new NBL competition.
In an interview with Sky Sports News HQ, he said: “I’ve been waiting for this moment for 20 years. I wish we’d had this when I first came on to the scene as a young player. It’s been great to be involved with the process of bringing live badminton regularly.
“Badminton gained lots of new fans at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the NBL is certain to do the same when the action starts in October.
“It’s critical to develop new players and for the young players it does sometimes feel a long way away from to get to the Olympics, Commonwealth Games or World Championships to showcase their talent within the media, but now these guys will have a platform to really express themselves every month.”
Sky Sports will show a live fixture from each match night as the crème de la crème of British badminton and some of Europe’s top stars vie for the title.
The 2014/15 National Badminton League begins on Monday, October 6, as MK Badminton host Surrey Smashers at the Centre:MK with live coverage on Sky Sports 3 at 7.30pm.
|MONDAY 6th OCTOBER|
|MK Badminton v Surrey Smashers National Badminton League – Match Night 1||19:30|
|MONDAY 3rd NOVEMBER|
|Loughborough Sport v Team Derby National Badminton League – Match Night 2|
|MONDAY 1st DECEMBER|
|Birmingham Lions v University of Nottingham National Badminton League – Match Night 3|
|MONDAY 26th JANUARY|
|Uni. of Nottingham v Loughborough Sport National Badminton League – Match Night 4|
|MONDAY 23rd MARCH|
|Team Derby v MK Badminton National Badminton League – Match Night 5|
|MONDAY 27th APRIL|
|Surrey Smashers v Birmingham Lions National Badminton League – Match Night 6|