The AJ Bell National Badminton League (NBL) season 3 will start on 17 October as the fixtures for the new 2016/17 season were confirmed.
The opening round of matches will see reigning champions Birmingham Lions start their title defence at home to new franchise team, Suffolk Saxons.
Match-Week 1 also sees Surrey Smashers welcome Loughborough Lightning, last season’s runners up, to Surrey Sports Park in Guildford.
The other team taking its first step in the AJ Bell NBL in the new season is the Bristol Jets, who will be making their debut away to Team Derby on Match-Week 2 (7-13 November).
Adrian Christy, Badminton England Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted that the new fixtures have been confirmed for what will be the third season of the AJ Bell NBL and the team franchises can start to prepare for the season ahead.
“It’s extremely exciting that will we see the introduction of two new teams to the league – the Bristol Jets and Suffolk Saxons – and we look forward to taking more fast-paced badminton to new audiences across the country.”
Olympic silver medallist and AJ Bell NBL Ambassador Nathan Robertson said: “It’s hard to believe this will be the third season of the NBL but it’s great that the new fixtures have been confirmed and that the league is expanding to seven teams.
“With the reduced format and new rules of the AJ Bell NBL we’ve already witnessed lots of epic matches and comebacks, but as all the teams strengthen their squads I think this season promises to the best yet.”
Andrew Billingham, Bristol Sport CEO, said: “We are hugely excited about the start of the season. Our squad is taking shape nicely with ex England International Chris Coles and the recent announcement of the formidably talented Lane brothers.
“There is a lot to do between now and the first match, but it is exciting that Bristol will have a team in the top-flight and the synergies between the Bristol Jets and the rest of our sports teams will work well together to attract even more people to playing and watching sport.”
Season 3 of the AJ Bell NBL will feature players from 16 different nations, including European stars and GB players currently competing in Rio including Chris and Gabby Adcock, Raj Ouseph and Adam Cwalina.
Tickets for the fixtures will be available from the respective team:
You can view the 2016/17 AJ Bell NBL fixtures here.